A Philippine anti-graft court on Friday sentenced former First Lady Imelda Marcos to at least 42 years in prison after she was found guilty of graft for creating private foundations in Switzerland and having “financial interests” in companies while in office from 1968 to 1986.
Neither Imelda Marcos nor any of her lawyers were present during the promulgation of the decision, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Sandiganbayan court also ordered the arrest of the 89-year-old widow of ousted Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Imelda Marcos, nicknamed the “Iron Butterfly”, was sentenced to a minimum of six years and one month to a maximum of 11 years for each of the seven counts of the graft. The court barred Marcos from holding public office as part of the sentence.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the 10 graft cases in 1991. The court acquitted her in three counts of graft.
The court said Imelda had “financial interest” in the seven Swiss foundations they created pegged to amount to $200 million.
Imelda was Minister of Human Settlements from 1976 to 1986 and concurrent Metro Manila governor from 1978 to 1984.
The court said Imelda, now a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, can have a provisional liberty if she posts a cash bond while appealing the conviction.
Imelda is running for governor in Ilocos Norte, a province in the northern tip of the Philippines’ main Luzon Island, in the 2019 midterm elections. She can still appeal the conviction.
Imelda is known for her ostentatious lifestyle, her thousands of expensive shoes and her collection of jewelry.
Ferdinand Marcos was elected as the president of the Philippines in 1965, but declared martial law in 1972 heralding a dictatorial regime.
Millions of Filipinos took to the streets in February 1986, deposing Marcos and his wife Imelda. The Marcoses were forced to flee to Hawaii where the elder Marcos died in 1989.
Imelda returned to the Philippines in 1992 and campaigned for the presidency, but lost it.
However, in 1995, Imelda won election to the House of Representatives, representing the first district in her home province of Leyte.
The Philippine government is fighting dozens of suits abroad to claim art and property owned by Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies.