Philippines’ Claim on Marcos’s Singapore Funds Dismissed

The Philippines’ claim on $23 million its late president Ferdinand Marcos had looted and held in trust at West Landesbank AG’s Singapore branch was dismissed by a Singapore Court.

Justice Andrew Ang dismissed competing claims by the Philippines, citizens who suffered human rights abuses during Marcos’s rule and five others seeking access to the funds kept in the branch.

He allowed a claim by the Philippine National Bank, controlled by Lucio Tan, because it has legal title to the funds, according to a 75-page decision made public today. West Landesbank asked Singapore’s High Court in 2004 to help determine the owners of the money, part of what the judgment said was $567 million in ill-gotten gains of the Marcos family and his aides in various bank accounts.

Marcos, who took power in 1965, was overthrown in 1986 and exiled from the Southeast Asian nation. In 2003, the Philippines Supreme Court ordered more than $658 million of Marcos’s assets to be returned to the country.

Singapore’s courts can’t recognize the Philippines’ claim, which was based on the 2003 verdict, as the funds were never in the Philippines, Ang wrote.

The Philippines is “still considering the implications of the ruling,” said S. Suressh, a lawyer acting for the Southeast Asian nation.

The Singapore case is WestLB AG v Philippine National Bank. (PNB) OS134/2004. Singapore High Court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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