Former Philippines first lady convicted of embezzling $200M

Imelda Marcos

Imelda Marcos

Former Philippines First Lady, Imelda Marcos was Friday found guilty of corruption and was handed a lengthy prison term.

It stems from private organisations Marcos, 89, created while holding a variety of posts in government.

She was sentenced to a minimum of six years to a maximum of 11 years and a month imprisonment.

Her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted by a "people power" revolt in 1986 and died in 1989.

Assistant Special Prosecutor Ryan Quilala said the Sandiganbayan decision isn't final and executory yet as the former first lady can still file an appeal. According to the Philippine Commission on Good Government, the wealth acquired illegally by the Marcos family is estimated to be between $5 billion and $10 billion, majority of which is hidden in accounts outside the country.

Marcos can apply for bail while appealing the decision, CNN Philippines reports.

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The Sandigan also ordered the release of an arrest warrant of arrest against Marcos who did not attend the promulgation of the cases against her.

Her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, who was president for almost two decades, was accused of amassing more than US$10 billion while in office. She could also appeal the decision, which could drag on for several more years. Imelda Marcos was the governor of metropolitan Manila during the 1970s when she committed the offenses she was sentenced for on Friday, a scheme that involved shifting about $200 million out of the Philippines and stashing the money in Swiss foundations.

"Mrs. Marcos' cases were first investigated more than 3 decades ago". After an appeal the convictions were eventually quashed in the Supreme Court in 1998.

Mrs. Marcos is running for governor in the upcoming May 2019 elections.

Imelda returned to the Philippines in 1992 and campaigned for the presidency, but lost it. Duterte said through a spokesman that his administration "is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence on courts, and therefore respects the decision".

Headway only began to be made in the case when the Swiss Federal Court ruled in 1997 "that the majority of the Marcos foundation assets were of criminal origin".

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