Ferdinand Marcos

Country: Philippines
People Power
$10 billion

The Philippines’ popular despot Ferdinand Marcos was different from most dictators in that he was elected three times. True, he also declared martial law for 12 years, cracked down on dissent, tortured and eliminated opponents and was implicated in the murder of rival Benigno Aquino. But as dictators go he wasn’t the worst.

On the other hand, he was one of the biggest thieves, helping himself to $10 billion during his 21 years in power, and ranking second to Suharto in the all-time felons list. Deposed by people power in 1986, Marcos fled to Hawaii, leaving his luxury palace and several thousand pairs of wife Imelda’s shoes. After his death in 1989 his embalmed body remained on show there, while his crazy widow campaigned for a triumphal posthumous return. And in 1993 it was granted.

Ferdy now lives in the basement and helps Imelda with her political campaigns. Meanwhile, legal action continues in four countries to recover the money he stole, with around $1 billion returned so far.