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Imelda Marcos’s Secretary Convicted in Missing-Art Sale

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The former secretary of Imelda Marcos was found guilty of attempting to sell four missing paintings and failing to report taxes on the one that she did sell, a Claude Monet water lilies painting for $32 million, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Vilma Bautista, 75, was convicted after a trial that revealed what happened to four artworks that disappeared from Philippine government property, including the consulate in Manhattan, after the fall of the Marcos regime in 1986.

“Vilma Bautista was found guilty of attempting to sell art she had possessed secretly for decades and knew to be stolen, and for selling a looted museum-quality painting for her personal enrichment,” Vance said today in a statement. It took the jury 2 1/2 hours to reach a verdict in Manhattan Criminal Court, he said.

After February 1986, Bautista came into possession of paintings that Imelda and her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, had acquired during Marcos’ two decades as president from 1965 to 1986.

She possessed two Monets -- “Le Bassin aux Nymphease,” also known as “Japanese Footbridge Over the Water-Lily Pond at Giverny,” and “L’Eglise et La Seine a Vetheuil”; Alfred Sisley’s “Langland Bay,”; and Albert Marquet’s “Le Cypres de Djenan Sidi Said,” Vance said.

Using false ownership documents, Bautista tried to sell the paintings and succeeded in selling the Water-Lily painting in September 2010 to a London gallery, prosecutors said.

Several months later she filed a tax return and didn’t disclose the sale.

Bautista was convicted of tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing, according to the statement.

The case is People v. Bautista, 04930/2012. New York Criminal Court, New York County (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tiffany Kary in New York at tkary@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net

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