Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos has been found guilty of seven counts of graft by local anti-corruption court Sandiganbayan in a court proceeding that lasted 27 years.
Sandiganbayan Court Fifth Division, which presides over cases involving graft and corruption, filed an arrest warrant against the 89-year-old widow of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Friday.
Based on the special court’s findings, she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s during her term as a Metropolitan Manila governor, CNN reports.
Marcos was not present in court when she was sentenced to serve 6-11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law. She was reportedly acquitted on three other counts of graft.
Famous for her lavish spending during her husband’s presidential term beginning in 1965, Marcos amassed a “huge collection of shoes, jewelry, and artwork” during her 21 years as First Lady of the Philippines.
When her husband was ousted from office via the “People Power Revolution” in 1986, she left over 1,000 pairs of shoes and more than 800 purses behind as the family fled to Hawaii.
She also left behind bank documents that were later used to build the case against her since 1991.
Based on the documents, the Marcos couple created fake charitable foundations in Liechtenstein and elsewhere, which were eventually used to open secret bank accounts in Switzerland.
In 1997, the Swiss Federal Court ruled “that the majority of the Marcos foundation assets were of criminal origin.”
Based on the Philippine Supreme Court decision, the joint lawful income of the Marcos couple between 1965 to 1986 should just amount to $304,000 and anything in excess had been stolen.
The Swiss court then ordered the money to be returned to the Philippine government in 2003.
At that time, the couple’s Swiss accounts had $683 million which increased from the initial $356 million.
While in power, the pair reportedly stashed at least $10 billion overseas overall, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency set up to recover the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.
Marcos, who is currently serving a term as a member of the Philippines House of Representatives, has 30 days to explain her absence during the last trial.
Despite the controversies surrounding the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth, the “Iron Butterfly” has been elected four times to the House of Representatives. Currently running for the governorship of Ilocos Norte, Marcos has been disqualified by the court from holding public office.
Marcos has since released a statement saying that one of her lawyers is currently studying the decision. Her arresst warrant has yet to be served as of this writing, Reuters reports.