Disclaimer: The corruption cases databases are a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank. It is intended for general information purposes only. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in the Database do not necessarily reflect the views of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. Neither the World Bank Group nor its officers or employees shall be liable for any losses that may result directly or indirectly from the use of or reliance upon such information.
According to a case study by the World Bank-UN Office on Drugs and Crime's Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative, "Ferdinand Marcos started accumulating his ill-gotten wealth in 1965, when he was first elected president. He was reelected four years later but declared Martial Law in September 1972, before his second term was completed. The Martial Law regime continued until February 1986, when Marcos was toppled by the so-called peaceful 'People Power Revolution.' He is estimated to have siphoned off between $5 and $10 billion. This ill-gotten wealth was accumulated through six channels: outright takeover of large private enterprises; creation of state-owned monopolies in vital sectors of the economy; awarding government loans to private individuals acting as fronts for Marcos or his cronies; direct raiding of the public treasury and government financial institutions; kickbacks and commissions from firms working in the Philippines; and skimming off foreign aid and other forms of international assistance. The proceeds were laundered through the use of shell corporations, which invested the funds in real estate inside the United States, or by depositing the funds in various domestic and offshore banks under pseudonyms, in numbered accounts or accounts with code names." According to a case study by Merceditas Gutierrez, Ombudsman, Republic of the Philippines, for an Asia Development Bank/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific (2007), the Marcoses' ownership of properties in the U.S. was "legally structured and designed to conceal the interest of the Marcoses. Usually, the properties were owned by an offshore corporation which, in turn, was owned and controlled by Panamanian corporations. Ownership of these corporations is embodied in bearer shares, and the holders of these bearer shares controlled the corporations which held title to the properties." Arelma S.A., a Panamanian bearer share shell company was also used to hold a U.S. account at Merrill Lynch; the ownership of the $35 million "Arelma deposit" is currently being litigated.
Bribery, Embezzlement, Illicit Enrichment, Money Laundering
Bearer shares companies; multiple corporate vehicle jurisdictions; multiple bank accounts and bank jurisdictions; fake names/alias; changed name of shell foundations; lawyers as trustees of foundations, chains of corporate vehicles