Report: Marcos Moved Funds Through Actor George Hamilton
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda allegedly funneled $12 million out of the country through actor George Hamilton, a newspaper reported today.
Court records obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicate the actor, known for his deep suntan, used part of the money to finance the mortgage on a Beverly Hills mansion and to launch a film development project.
In a previously sealed court deposition, Hamilton testified he received the money from associates of the Marcoses, that he paid it back and that he did not know the funds were linked to the couple, the Times reported.
″Maybe he was a tool for someone, an innocent,″ said Arthur N. Greenberg, Hamilton’s attorney. ″He would not knowingly participate in any transaction that has any taint.″
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles G. LaBella, a New York prosecutor, said the Marcoses used Hamilton as ″a front″ to move money out of the Philippines.
Imelda Marcos is accused in pending civil suits of converting billions of public dollars into private wealth during her late husband’s 20-year rule over the Philippines. She was acquitted earlier this year of fraud and federal racketeering in a New York criminal case in which Hamilton was an unindicted co-conspirator.
Hamilton, 51, has acknowledged publicly that he received many gifts from Mrs. Marcos, who he met in 1979 while visiting Manila to promote a movie. He also acted as a financial adviser to her, the Times reported.
Hamilton, who has served as a frequent escort for Elizabeth Taylor and other celebrities, is known for his portrayal of a vampire in the movie, ″Love at First Bite.″
Court documents show that $12 million flowed from secret Marcos bank accounts in the Philippines through Hamilton investments in the United States to other banks and foreign companies allegedly controlled by the Marcoses.
The Times said Hamilton received $5.5 million from a Marcos associate which he invested in a film project on Gen. Douglas MacArthur. After deciding not to make the movie, Hamilton returned the money to a Hong Kong bank in 1983.
The funds, which were traced from the Philippine National Oil Co. to an account secretly controlled by the Marcoses, eventually wound up in the hands of two men linked to Mrs. Marcos, investigators said.
″I don’t believe (Hamilton) had any reason to believe he was dealing with money belonging to Mrs. Marcos,″ Greenberg said. ″It was an arm’s length transaction. He made deposits in his own name, not fictitious accounts. ... It was all above board.″
The actor also received a $6 million loan - $4 million of which was secured by Hamilton’s lavish estate in Benedict Canyon - from Antonio O. Floirendo, a Marcos confidante, the documents show. Hamilton undertook an extensive remodeling of the home, which was built by Charlie Chaplin.
In a sworn affidavit, Floirendo said Mrs. Marcos instructed him to transfer the mortgage on the house to Krodo Properties NV, a Caribbean shell corporation, in 1984.
Attorneys for the Philippine government believe Krodo was a secret entity used by the Marcoses to funnel money to Hamilton or to control the estate without revealing their interest, the Times reported.
Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 until he was deposed in 1986. He and his wife fled to Hawaii, where Marcos died last year.