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Switzerland Orders Banks to Send Marcos Funds Back to Philippines

August 29, 1995| From Associated Press

BERN, Switzerland — Swiss officials have ordered Swiss banks to return nearly half a billion dollars in accounts of the late Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos to the Philippines, which says the money was plundered from the national treasury.

But the money is to be held in an escrow account until Philippine courts determine who should get it--the government, the Marcos family or the 10,000 victims of Marcos' regime who were awarded $2 billion in a federal class-action lawsuit in Hawaii.

Peter Cosandey, the Zurich district attorney, said Monday that he had approved the transfer of money, deeming that the conditions in a 1990 ruling by the Swiss Supreme Court had been met.

But the two main banks holding the money--Swiss Bank Corp. and Credit Suisse--said they will appeal the decision, asking that a transfer be delayed until the courts decide who should get the money.

They fear that even if they turn money over to the Philippines, they could later be ordered to pay the plaintiffs in the U.S. lawsuit as well.

The Marcos family, which has fought to avoid paying the settlement, applauded the decision to transfer the money.

"I'm happy if there is a decision to bring the so-called Marcos assets to the Philippines," said his widow, Imelda. "Because ever since the death of my late husband . . . I have been concerned in the implementation of his last will and testament to give his wealth to the Filipino people."

Marcos, who ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.

In 1983, Imelda Marcos was convicted of graft during Marcos' rule. She received a 24-year prison term but is out on bail pending appeal.

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