Exclusive: Former Marcos aide to be charged in painting disappearance - source

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 19, 2012 8:29 PM

By Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former aide to one-time Phillipine first lady Imelda Marcos is expected to be charged on Tuesday in New York with crimes relating to paintings that disappeared after the fall of the Marcos government, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Vilma Bautista, a New York resident and one-time secretary to Imelda Marcos, will be charged by the Manhattan District Attorney in connection with four paintings in her possession, including some by Impressionist artists, said another source.

Some of the paintings hung in a Manhattan town house used by Imelda Marcos when her husband, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, was in power, one person said.

The probe comes a quarter century after the Philippine dictator was forced out by an uprising and fled the country in 1986.

Bautista, who is in her 70s, could not immediately be reached for comment. Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., declined comment.

Imelda Marcos, known for her extravagant lifestyle and thousands of shoes, is not expected to face charges in the case. Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989.

The Philippine government filed corruption charges against the strongman and his wife in 1987, seeking tens of billions of dollars in damages for plundering the nation's wealth, including illegal expensive works of art, clothes and jewelry.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)