By Raïssa Robles
On the eve of the May 2010 elections, the Maximilian Diamond of Imelda Marcos was put up for auction by Christie’s of London. It expected to sell this for up to US$1.5 million.
I once covered the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) extensively. I am wondering now if that famous diamond which Imelda had bought in 1983 – the same year when former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated – was ever sequestered by the PCGG. Or if it was confiscated by the US Customs when the Marcoses landed in Hawaii with crates and crates of valuables that included jewelry.
Or if the diamond mysteriously disappeared inside Malacañang Palace when – as the Marcos camp claimed to me – Senator Gringo Honasan, Senator Joker Arroyo and some wealthy ladies of Makati swooped down on the Palace shortly after the Marcoses fled.
The Marcos camp claims that Imelda Marcos had left it behind. We have really no way of knowing if that was true.
What we do know now is what Christie’s stated on its website when it put up the Maximilian Diamond for auction in April 22 last year. Christie’s said that London jeweler Laurence Graff had bought the diamond for US$726,000:
In January 1983, Graff sold The Emperor Maximilian, together with two other important diamonds, in a single transaction to the same buyer, Madame Imelda Marcos, wife of the President of the Philippines.
Subsequently, it was sold and re-cut in the 1990’s, to its current weight of 39.55 carats, and finally it was acquired by the present owner.
Who sold the diamonds in the 1990s during the presidency of President Fidel Ramos?
And who bought it in the 1990s then decided to get rid of it last year?
Since the Philippine government filed a forfeiture case against the Marcoses before the Swiss courts in 1987, international laws on anti-money laundering have dramatically changed.
But I don’t know to what extent foreign auction houses are covered by such laws. However, auction houses like Christie’s have their reputation to protect. They would not want to be known as fencing stolen goods.
Watch Christie’s video on the sale of Imelda’s bauble:
See Fox News feature on the Maximilian diamond: