Marcos widow featured in Google Earth tour-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
MANILA -- Former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos is again on the map, this time in a Google Earth tour.
But she may not be too happy with the company she will keep, as the tour is about the world's most corrupt homes.
One.org, a group that described itself as "fighting the absurdity of extreme poverty," used Google Earth to set up a virtual tour of seized properties of "disgraced politicians and company bosses."
"Corrupt politicians and dodgy businesses are stealing millions of dollars from the countries they are supposed to serve, using phantom firms and tax havens to do it. They often then buy valuable property overseas in the most desirable parts of the world," it said.
It added phantom firms had been created to move money out of developing countries and into bank accounts, which can then be used to buy properties.
The tour featured Mrs. Marcos' real estate in New York.
"Though famous for her vast shoe collection, Imelda Marcos, wife of former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, also had a penchant for New York real estate. The World Bank's Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative estimates they siphoned between $5 to 10 billion from the country," it said.
It also posted photos of four luxury properties in New York that were seized from the late former President Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.
Also featured in the virtual tour were photos of a $5-million, 16-bedroom, 17-bathroom Long Island estate formerly owned by the Marcos couple. US authorities have seized the estate.
Other "corrupt" properties in the tour included:
- A $4-million villa in southern France formerly owned by former Zaire President Mobuto Sese Seko. "He plundered an estimated $4 to 5 billion from the country during his 32 years in power," One.org said.
- Properties of Cecilia Ibru, the former managing director of Oceanic Bank. She was sentenced to six months in prison for fraud and ordered to hand over $1.2 billion in cash and assets. Authorities seized 103 properties in the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Dubai and London.
- Seized estates of Teodorin Obiang, the son of President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, in Malibu, California and Paris, as well as sports cars and Michael Jackson memorabilia valued at $1.8 million. The Jackson memorabilia included a while jewel-encrusted glove from the Bad tour.
- 11 cars beloging to Teodorin Obiang seized by French authorities. Nine were sold at auction in July 2013. The cars were worth an estimated $3.6 million.
- Teodorin Obiang’s beachside $30 million Malibu mansion in California, and his 101-room Parisian mansion, valued at $100 to 150 million, seized by authorities.
- Seized Texas mansion of Governor James Onanefe Ibori, who misappropriated millions as the governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta State. Estimated Value: $1.7 million.
One.org said some banks play a role in laundering the money of corrupt politicians, wittingly or not.
It noted the Saudi Arabian royal family, the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and the Obiang family of Equatorial Guinea all banked at Washington, D.C.-based Riggs Bank.
"Riggs was investigated by the FBI and Congress for terrorist financing and money laundering. According to a US Senate investigation, Riggs Bank accepted cash deposits of $1 million or more for accounts linked to officials from Equatorial Guinea. An employee of the bank testified that, on at least two occasions, these cash deposits arrived at the bank in suitcases weighing as much as 60 lbs," it said.
One.org said the bank violated US law by failing to report this as suspicious activity and were fined $50 million. (JK/Sunnex)