Much has been said about the late
President Ferdinand Marcos being the world’s richest man. While this
title was not officially designated to Marcos, the late dictator,
however, was known as the man who took away the largest loot in
history. While deposed President Joseph Estrada faces plunder charges
for allegedly amassing some US$82 million in kickbacks and payoffs
during his 31-month stint at Malacanang Palace, Marcos had reportedly
stolen billions of dollars. There were different versions of the fabled
The fabled Marcos wealth reportedly
consists of billions of dollars and tons of gold bullions deposited in
several banks in Switzerland. Government lawyers claimed that Marcos
had used dummy foundations to hoard his wealth. Among such foundations
that the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) had
identified are Sandy, Xandy, Wintrop, and Rayby.
Senate President Jovito Salonga, who served as the first PCGG chairman
under the Aquino administration said the agency had identified 51
Marcos bank accounts in Switzerland, 23 of which are in Credit Suisse;
3 at Swiss Bank Corporation in Fribourg; 15 in Swiss Bank Corporation
in Geneva; 6 at Banque Paribas in Geneva; 3 at Hoffman in Zurich; and
one each at Lombard Odeii and Trade Development Bank in Geneva.
to former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, the Marcos family still
keeps some US$13.4 billion in deposits at the Union Bank of Switzerland
under the account of Irene Marcos-Araneta, on top of a hoard of 1.241
tons of gold at an underground bunker at Kloten Airport in Zurich.
Chavez also disclosed that former First Lady Imelda Marcos has 800,000
ounces of gold in unfrozen accounts in Switzerland.
this, Australian private investigator Reiner Jacobi, who served as a
PCGG consultant in 1989, had unraveled the so-called Irene Araneta
account and even went to the extent of claiming that the Marcoses had a
US$250-billion gold hoard in Switzerland. The PCGG, however, described
Jacobi’s claims as exaggerated and too fantastic.
October 1999, Filipino businessman Enriquez Zobel, a known crony of the
late president told a Senate committee that the Marcos wealth could
have swollen to US$100 billion in gold and dollar deposits, the bulk of
which is deposited with the US Treasury. In his sworn testimony, Zobel
said the Marcos wealth is distributed to gold deposits, dollar
accounts, and real estate properties located in various parts of the
The Marcos gold deposits alone, Zobel said, may
have reached US$35 billion. Zobel had also mentioned the US$13.4
billion Irene Marcos Araneta account at the Union Bank of Switzerland.
The gold bars are allegedly kept in various banks in Portugal, Vatican
City, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Solomon Island, and the US. Zobel
said Marcos obtained the gold bars after the Liberation (1946) from the
Yamashita treasure and from soldiers who sold their gold bars for only
US$20 per bar. Another version was that of Rogelio Roxas who claimed
that Marcos’ men seized the real golden buddha from his house at Aurora
Hills in Baguio City on April 5, 1971. The buddha reportedly costs
billions of dollars.
In February 2001, the Philippine Daily
Inquirer disclosed the alleged attempt of Irene Marcos Araneta to
launder billions of dollars in deposits under the 885931 accounts from
Union Bank of Switzerland to Deutsche Banks in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Aside from the Marcos family and the Philippine government, the 9,539
victims of human rights under the Marcos regime have interest in the