Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Mark Jimenez, Erap’s ‘corporate genius’; 70

Former Manila congressman and billionaire Mark Jimenez, the “corporate genius” whose checkered history in US and Philippine politics made him a colorful figure in the late 1990s and early 2000s, died after suffering a heart attack at 4 a.m. on Tuesday. He was 70.

Jimenez left behind 13 children.

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“He embodied a story for all of us, one of starting humbly, rising above all his circumstances and eventually choosing a life of service,” his family said in a statement issued on Tuesday night.

“This is the story we choose to remember him by, as his children, all 13 of us, and his chosen children, in District 6 in Manila,” their statement read.

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Jimenez’s body will lie at Funeraria Rey in Pandacan on April 27 and 28 with Masses at 7 p.m. and will then be moved to Heritage Park in Taguig City on April 29 and 30 with Masses at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

A final Mass will be held at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Born Mario Crespo, Jimenez made a fortune in the late 1980s after establishing a firm in Miami, Florida, that exported computer parts to Latin American markets.

He became one of Estrada’s trusted confidantes and political operators, later becoming the latter’s adviser on Latin American affairs.

He briefly became owner of the Manila Times newspaper after it came under tremendous political pressure from the Estrada administration as it faced a P100-million libel suit, which had prompted the Gokongwei family to sell the publication.

Jimenez was elected representative of the sixth district of Manila in May 2001, after Estrada was ousted through the peaceful uprising known as Edsa 2. But he was unseated in 2002.

While this was happening, US authorities were seeking his extradition to the United States as he was indicted on tax evasion charges and election financing offenses for his campaign contributions to the Democratic Party.

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He had initially contested his extradition but in December 2002, he offered “voluntary” extradition and left the country.

On Nov. 14, 2003, he was sentenced to 27 months in prison in Miami, Florida, and fined $1.2 million after pleading guilty to the charges. He served 22 months of his sentence.

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