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Official Claims Marcos Shipped Tons Of Gold To Switzerland

August 15, 1991 GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ The chairman of the commission trying to recover wealth that Ferdinand Marcos siphoned out of the country claimed Wednesday that the late president also secretly shipped 320 tons of gold to Switzerland.

Officials in Zurich, Switzerland, however, dismissed the claim as groundless. One said that ties had been severed with the Filipino chairman due to reports that he’d hired an agent to tap into Swiss computers.

Already, Swiss officials have been helping the Philippines government recover $350 million. A Swiss federal court has ruled that the money belongs to Manila, but that to recover the funds it must file charges against Marcos’ widow, Imelda, by December.

In Manila, David Castro, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, told reporters that the government couldn’t hope to legally recover the gold, and should settle directly with the Marcos family.

″This kind of evidence will be full of holes if we have to go through the legal process,″ he said.

He said that Marcos had found the gold, possibly buried by Japanese troops during World War II, in the Antipolo hills east of Manila in the 1970s.

He then allegedly shipped it to Switzerland between October 1983 and 1985, one year before he was ousted in the popular uprising that propelled Corazon Aquino to power. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in September 1989.

Castro claimed the gold is held by the Union Bank of Switzerland in Zurich, and produced certificates from a Manila firm, Tamaraw Security Services Inc., saying it assisted in the transfer, and from an unnamed Philippine Airlines pilot who Castro claims flew the gold to Switzerland.

Castro said he learned of the gold in 1988 from Reiner Jacobi, an Australian he hired as an agent to search for Marcos assets in Switzerland.

However, Zurich District Attorney Peter Cosandey dismissed as an old rumor Castro’s claim that the Union Bank, Switzerland’s largest, possessed 320 tons of gold smuggled out of the Philippines by Marcos.

Cosandey said in a telephone interview that such rumors prompted an official inquiry during the 1980′s that yielded no evidence of such transfer.

Max Schaefer, a spokesman for Union Bank of Switzerland, said Castro was talking ″absolute nonsense.″

Cosandey said that he would have no more contact with Castro following reports that Castro had hired an Australian agent - apparently Jacobi - to tap illegally into Swiss computers to check into suspected Marcos accounts.