Switzerland has unfrozen bank accounts containing $17 million (SFr25.6 million) linked to the former Philippines dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.This content was published on August 8, 2002 - 12:48
The accounts, blocked shortly after Marcos fell from power in 1986, were in the name of the former Philippine energy minister, Geronimo Velasco, his nephew and secretary.
Zurich prosecutor Dieter Jann said the three accounts had been unblocked because legal action in the Philippines was taking too long and a further freezing would be illegal.
"We no longer have a legal basis on which to block these accounts," said Jann.
In a similar move in August last year, Jann released another $13 million from an account belonging to Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, one of the most powerful industrialists during the Marcos era.
By 1998, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had transferred $670 million to an escrow account at the Philippine National Bank in Manila.
The current Swiss transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger, represented groups in Manila fighting to repatriate the money.
The missing millions were tracked down shortly after a bloodless revolt in 1986 toppled the former dictator's 20-year rule. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.
The Philippine government is believed to have recouped only around $2 billion from the estimated $5-10 billion amassed by Marcos.
A further $10 million belonging to his relatives remains blocked in Swiss bank accounts.
swissinfo with agencies
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