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Treasure Hunter’s Estate Loses Judgment Extension

(CN) - The Hawaii Court of Appeals refused to extend a 1996 judgment against the late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos over claims that he tortured a treasure hunter and stole part of his "Yamashita Treasure."

Locksmith and treasure hunter Roger Roxas unearthed in 1971 the Yamashita Treasure, which had been buried in the Philippines by Japanese troops during World War II.

Roxas claimed that Marcos had him arrested and tortured, and stole a cache of gold, gems and artwork from the buried treasure.

Fifteen years later, Roxas assigned his rights to the treasure to the Golden Budha (sic) Corporation. He and the company sued Marcos individually for false imprisonment and battery. The company also sued him for conversion, constructive trust and fraudulent conveyance of the stolen treasure.

When Marcos died in 1989, his wife, Imelda, stepped in to represent the Marcos estate. Roxas also died during litigation, and Felix Dacanay was appointed to represent his estate.

The case went to trial, and a jury sided with Roxas. A circuit court entered a judgment for the Roxas estate on Aug. 28, 1996.

The circuit court has since amended the judgment three times, awarding the Roxas estate more than $19 million, plus damages and interest for the theft of a golden Buddha statue and 17 gold bars.

In 2007, the Roxas estate asked to extend the second and fourth amended judgments for another 10 years. Imelda objected.

The appeals court ruled for the Marcos estate, saying the 10-year clock began ticking in 1996.

"Accordingly, we hold that the August 28, 1996 judgment is the 'original judgment' for purposes of this case and the limitation period for an extension commenced on its August 28, 1996 entry date," Judge Foley wrote.

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