HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A multi-million dollar jewelry collection could help compensate the victims of a corrupt Filipino dictator and first lady who once lived in Hawaii.
The fortune belonged to former Philippine first lady and Oahu resident, Imelda Marcos. Her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, was in power in the Philippines from 1972 to 1986. While the Marcos' amassed a huge fortune, thousands of people were tortured or killed. They were exiled to Hawaii in 1986 facing accusations of corruption and human rights violations and the jewels were seized.
Now, nearly three decades later, the battle continues over who are the rightful heirs to the Marcos' wealth.
Hawaii attorney Sherry Broder represents 7,500 victims and says they are.
"Every time we find money or we find assets, the Philippine government disputes us. They say the money from Marcos' ill-gotten gains is supposed to go to so-called agrarian reform in the Philippines. And we say we should be the priority creditor for people who were tortured, some of them were summarily executed or disappeared," Broder said.
More than 20 years ago, a Hawaii court ruled that former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda should pay $2 billion to families hurt by their brutal regime.
Its a dazzling jewelry collection featuring a barrel-shaped diamond and a Cartier diamond tiara. In 1991, the collection appraised at $5 million. Now, Christie's auction house says the jewels include a newly discovered 25-carat Indian pink diamond, which is worth at least $5 million alone.
"Well, Christie's is very proud to be here in the Philippines to assess the collection again. It is a wonderful collection. It has a huge variety of pieces. There are some truly exceptional items in this collection," said David Warren, Senior International Jewellery Director.
The Marcos' time in Hawaii came to an end in the late 1980's. Facing embezzlement charges, the ex-president died in 1989. The former first lady was later allowed to return to the Philippines and is now a congresswoman there.
The collection is being appraised by a second auction house before the Philippines government decides when and if to hold the auction.