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Philippine top court rejects government's move to recover Marcos wealth

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Philippine top court rejects government's move to recover Marcos wealth

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MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine Supreme Court has rejected efforts to claim almost $1 billion (£0.8 billion) in damages from the estate of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, saying the government had failed to prove alleged graft related major infrastructure projects.

The court made the decision in April but it was only made public on Tuesday.

The government had alleged that Marcos, several former government officials and businessmen had accumulated ill-gotten wealth through the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), which won state-funded infrastructure projects.

Marcos ruled the Philippines for 20 years, during which time he, his family and cronies amassed an estimated $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth, according to the findings of a commission created after his ouster in a military-backed civilian uprising in 1986.

After Marcos died three years later in Hawaii, his widow Imelda was asked to answer hundreds of cases to recover cash, stocks, jewellery, art works and properties stashed abroad and in the Philippines.

Imelda, who is currently serving as a congresswoman, still faces 10 criminal graft cases and 25 civil suits to recover ill-gotten wealth in the Philippines.

The government is fighting dozens of suits abroad to claim art and property owned by the former dictator and his cronies.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth, has already recovered about $1.8 billion.

The dismissal of the CDCP case was not the first court victory for the Marcoses. In 2008, a Philippine court also acquitted Imelda, renowned for her extravagant shopping trips and huge shoe collection, of 32 counts of illegally transferring money abroad due to insufficient evidence.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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