MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines' flamboyant former first lady Imelda Marcos was acquitted of tax evasion Wednesday after a court ruled she did not receive any tax notices because she had fled into exile.
Marcos, 78, had been charged with failing to pay 33.734 million pesos (717,000 dollars) in income tax in 1985 and 5.7 million pesos in estate tax after her husband, deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, died in 1989.
But a local Manila court agreed with the widow's argument that she and her family had already fled into exile in Hawaii in 1986 and therefore did not receive any tax notices alerting her to pay.
"The prosecution's scanty evidence failed to establish the element of criminal intent on the part of Mrs Marcos in all the criminal complaints filed against her," judge Rosal Samson Tatad ruled.
Marcos, who as first lady led an opulent lifestyle, flying all over the world, said after the verdict that justice had been done.
"I thank the Lord that justice for the Marcoses has prevailed," she was quoted saying by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on its website.
The Marcoses are accused of embezzling up to 10 billion dollars from state coffers during their 20 years in power.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled first as an elected president and then as a virtual dictator after declaring martial law in 1972.
More than 500 civil and criminal suits have been filed against the former first family and the estate of the late dictator who was toppled in a bloodless coup in February 1986.
A mob that descended into the presidential palace after their departure found a treasure trove in Imelda's private chambers, consisting of jewellery, some 1,500 pairs of shoes, countless dresses, and paintings by the masters.
The family was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991.
Despite years of hearings and investigations, the Marcos family have not been convicted of any crime.
Courtesy of Yahoo NEWS