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Khashoggi Ends Claim to Real Estate, Art : Philippines: In exchange, racketeering charges still pending will be dropped. Property was purchased from Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

July 10, 1990|WILLIAM C. REMPEL and KRISTINA M. LUZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

NEW YORK — Saudi financier Adnan Khashoggi, who was acquitted of fraud charges last week along with Imelda Marcos, has agreed to waive all personal claims to millions of dollars in art and real estate acquired from Mrs. Marcos and her late husband, former Philippine dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, it was learned Monday.

In exchange, federal racketeering charges still pending against him will be dropped.

"My client is tired of being in our country's courts," attorney James P. Linn said, explaining the settlement.

The settlement, reached Monday after negotiations between Linn and Assistant U.S. Atty. Charles LaBella, clears the way for proceeds from a sale of the property to go to the Philippine government. The costs of prosecuting Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, an estimated $150,000, according to U.S. officials, also will be deducted.

Khashoggi agreed to terms of the deal before jetting off to Houston, where he said he will be meeting friends attending the economic summit. He had delayed a return to Saudi Arabia until the last of his lingering legal problems here could be resolved.

Khashoggi called the settlement "another victory for us." However, it also represented a victory of sorts for the Justice Department, which had sought to seize the same properties under forfeiture rules in its unsuccessful racketeering prosecution of Imelda Marcos, who was Khashoggi's co-defendant.

Both won acquittals last week, ending a three-month trial. Marcos was cleared of all four fraud, racketeering and conspiracy counts.

Khashoggi was acquitted of two mail fraud and obstruction of justice counts. He was not prosecuted at that time on racketeering and conspiracy charges under terms of a limited extradition agreement with Switzerland that allowed Khashoggi to stand trial in the United States. Those charges could have been reinstated.

Prosecution attorneys contended that the Marcoses had acquired art and real estate with funds looted from their nation's treasury. They also charged that Khashoggi aided their attempts to conceal that ownership and to evade court orders freezing the assets.

Defense lawyers argued that the Marcoses bought paintings and property either with their own private funds or as investments for the nation and that it was properly sold to Khashoggi.

Ironically, Monday's settlement seemed to give a belated boost to the prosecution's view of the transaction.

Included in the agreement was Khashoggi's claim to ownership of four Manhattan skyscrapers with a value estimated from $5 million to more than $30 million. He agreed to assert no personal claims on the buildings that were at the center of the criminal case against him and Marcos.

Other claims to ownership of the buildings, including one by a fugitive business associate of Khashoggi, still are being contested.

Khashoggi also renounced his claims to 28 paintings, some of them by old masters, estimated to be worth more than $6 million. That agreement apparently clears the way for the paintings to be auctioned soon.

The financier also signed over his personal claims on a $2-million house in Beverly Hills formerly owned by actor George Hamilton. Philippine officials contend that Hamilton was a front for Imelda Marcos and that the house was secretly purchased with government funds.

"Mr. Khashoggi never claimed any rights to that property," attorney Linn said. "But he was willing to sign a quit claim for the Empire State Building if it made everybody happy."

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