Imelda Marcos' former secretary charged with selling valuable artworks

Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos waves to wellwishers before she leave the St. Luke's Hospital in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, on Monday Sept. 17, 2007. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

NEW YORK Imelda Marcos' former secretary is charged in New York with conspiracy to sell valuable artworks that disappeared during the collapse of her husband's regime in the Philippines.

Vilma Bautista was indicted Tuesday on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing. Two of her nephews also were charged.

The Manhattan district attorney's office says Bautista used false paperwork to sell a work from Claude Monet's "Water Lilies" series for $32 million in September 2010.

Her attorney, Fran Hoffinger, says the case does not belong in criminal court.

Prosecutors say that the 74-year-old Bautista came into possession of numerous works of art acquired by Imelda Marcos and her husband, Ferdinand, who was ousted in a 1986 revolt.

The paintings included another Monet and Alfred Sisley's "Langland Bay."

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