Two of Hong Kong's biggest banks refused to say yesterday whether any of the money looted by the Marcos dictatorship was in their accounts, a day after a court heard they were believed to hold part of a $20 billion fortune. HSBC cited customer privacy policies and the fact the matter was before the courts as reasons not to comment, and the Bank of China did not return calls. Eastern Court heard on Thursday how former first lady Imelda Marcos signed a deal with alleged Hong Kong bounty hunters guaranteeing them a share of any Marcos money they were able to withdraw from accounts in the SAR and on the mainland. The alleged bounty hunters believed more than $20 billion had been deposited with HSBC, the Bank of China and mainland banks, the court heard. They are accused of planning to bribe a HSBC manager to release some of the money after one of them went to the US to sign a deal with Mrs Marcos. 'We don't talk about customer deposits or anything like that, and obviously there's a court case going on so there's sub judice to consider, too. There's no comment from us,' HSBC spokesman Gareth Hewett said. Asked if it was possible Mrs Marcos, 71, the wife of late dictator Ferdinand - was a depositor, he said: 'I don't suppose you'd want us talking about your bank details. We just don't talk about customers' details as a bank - we never have.' A Bank of China spokeswoman said she would respond to faxed questions but did not call back or return repeated phone messages left in the afternoon. Philippine Vice-Consul Bernie Candolada said the accusations in court came as a surprise to the consulate, which he said had no knowledge of any Marcos money being held in the SAR or on the mainland. 'We weren't even aware of any investigation or research into this matter,' he said. 'We don't have any information to that effect. In fact, we have made a report about the news in today's paper to Manila.' Rumours that a slice of the Marcos fortune - estimated at US$10 billion (HK$78 billion) - was held in Hong Kong bank vaults have long circulated, but Thursday was the first time such claims have been made officially. Mrs Marcos, whose husband's regime was toppled in 1986, became notorious for her extravagant shopping trips, which left her with a stock of up to 3,000 pairs of shoes and a fortune in handbags, furs, jewellery and lingerie.