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Court to Hear Case Over Marcos-Era Funds

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2007/12/03 17:14

The Supreme Court on Monday stepped into a dispute over who owns money misappropriated by Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a case in which the United States supports the government of the Philippines. The Republic of the Philippines claims ownership of the $35 million at issue and asked the justices to take the case after two U.S. courts awarded the stolen funds to 10,000 victims of the Marcos regime.

The lawsuit stems from an account set up with a $2 million deposit by Marcos in 1972 at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. in New York. Merrill Lynch went to court in 2000 to determine who the money belonged to.

The Philippines government asserted sovereign immunity and said the case could not proceed in U.S. courts.

The willingness of lower U.S. courts to nonetheless get involved "raises significant concerns," the U.S. solicitor general said in a filing with the Supreme Court.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco prejudices cases in the Philippines on the same issue, the solicitor general said in court papers.


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