Imelda Marcos’ former aide charged in stolen Monet


In this photo provided by the United States Attorney’s Office in New York shows an an 1881 painting by Impressionist master Claude Monet entitled “L’Eglise et La Seine a Vetheuil.” AP

NEW YORK–The former personal secretary to Imelda Marcos was charged Tuesday in New York in an alleged conspiracy to sell a Monet painting that had belonged to the former first lady.

Vilma Bautista, 74, was one of three people accused of “illegally conspiring to possess and sell valuable works of art acquired by” Imelda Marcos, and “keeping the proceeds for themselves,” the Manhattan district attorney DA’s office said.

They are also accused of seeking to hide the gains from the US tax authorities.

The Monet, which sold for $32 million in 2010, was part of Imelda Marcos’ hoard of artworks and other luxuries accumulated during the rule of her husband Ferdinand Marcos, who was ousted in a popular revolt in 1986. The Philippine government moved to recover the property in the aftermath of the revolution, but much of it vanished.

“A significant amount of artwork and other valuables disappeared from Philippine government property, including from the Philippine Consulate townhouse in Manhattan,” the DA’s office said.

Beginning in 2009, Bautista and her two nephews allegedly began trying to sell the Monet water lily, “Le Bassin aux Nympheas,” and three other valuable works that the Philippines government was trying to repossess.

They succeeded with the Monet, selling it to a London gallery and dividing the $32 million, with Bautista “keeping the largest share of the money herself,” prosecutors said.

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  • wakats

    The US$32M Monet once again highlighted how the marcoses, many of them still in power, almost bled the country white during the dark period of martial law, in which apo johnny played a major role.

    With bongbong already a senator and a step away from regaining the position of his disgraced father, the public should be aware of the possibility of another marcos ruling the country considering their huge campaign funds on hand…    

  • Natx Bacalzo

    Now she’s can use her loot for her lawyers. And with luck on PH side, she’ll use the money to send postcards from jail.

  • Noel

    Next should be the Arroyo properties under the name of their dummies.

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