Art Dealer Recalls Marcoses' $2.2M Spree: Paul Moses
Newsday May 5, 1990

An East Side art dealer testified yesterday that Imelda Marcos took part in the purchase of $2.2 million in art from his gallery and said most of the bill was paid through a Swiss bank account.

Jack Tanzer, president of the Knoedler-Modarco Gallery, described the 1983 sale of a sculpture and four paintings, including $860,000 for "Trois Danseuse" by the French Impressionist Edouard Degas.

Marcos, 60, is on trial at Manhattan federal court on charges that she and her late husband, former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, stole $222 million from their country and invested it in New York in real estate, art and jewelry.

Tanzer testified that about $1.4 million of the art bill was paid through funds transferred from Banque Paribas in Geneva. According to earlier testimony, Ferdinand Marcos transferred millions of dollars to secret accounts at the same bank.

The witness said that at Imelda Marcos' suggestion, he dealt with one of her associates, Gliceria Tantoco. But he said that before the deal was closed, Tantoco told him she had to get Marcos' approval.

Tanzer said the art was listed as being sold to the Metropolitan Museum in Manila and was kept at a government-owned townhouse in Manhattan.

During cross-examination, Marcos attorney Gerry Spence sought to show that the purchase was legitimate by eliciting testimony that Marcos was a trustee and patron of the Manila museum.

Marcos' co-defendant, Saudi Arabian businessman Adnan Khashoggi, was unmentioned in the testimony. Earlier in the day Khashoggi, who is charged with fraud and obstruction of justice, got some relief in a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John F. Keenan. The judge, on the agreement of attorneys for both sides, said Khashoggi will no longer have to wear the electronic ankle bracelet that federal authorities use to monitor him. Khashoggi has worn the device since last summer as a condition for being released on $10 million bail.

"I feel half-liberated," Khashoggi said yesterday after court officials cut the plastic device with shears. "The next half is going out of this court."

His attorney, James Linn, said he is thankful that Khashoggi got to wear the bracelet as a condition for bail. "It's better than being in jail," Linn said. "He's never complained about it."

Keenan said that federal officials had been calling Khashoggi at 3 or 4 in the morning, requiring him to insert the device into a transmitter. The judge said it didn't seem fair for Khashoggi to be in court all day and then to be awakened early in the morning.

The trial is to resume Tuesday.

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