Anton Forstenhausler told of having seen the late dictator's millions in a Swiss bank vault Boracay Island murder victim Anton Forstenhausler was a confidant of Ferdinand Marcos, the former Philippine president, and has been linked to the hunt for the 'missing millions' Marcos looted from the country. Diplomatic, police and family sources yesterday confirmed the former Hong Kong businessman and property developer was closely connected to the political and military elite of the Marcos regime. The revelation could shed new light on the murder of Forstenhausler, 69, his close friend, Swiss-born millionaire Manfred Schoeni, 58, architect John Cowperthwaite, 62 - the son of former Hong Kong financial secretary Sir John Cowperthwaite - and maid Irma Sarmiento in the German's luxury villa on Boracay a week ago. It comes after Boracay police yesterday released, without laying charges, 11 construction workers who had been detained for questioning for five days. At the same time, authorities said they were about to file murder and robbery charges against five suspects. Investigators said they had a witness linking the suspects to the gruesome killings. The witness said the suspects plotted to rob and kill Forstenhausler because they knew that the German victim kept valuables at his luxury villa, according to officials. Chief investigator Remus Canieso refused to say why all the construction workers had been released without charge if police were about to make a breakthrough in the investigation. Asked if he was aware of Forstenhausler's connections with the regime of the late dictator and the missing funds - believed to amount to US$13 billion - he said: 'Certain lines of inquiry are being explored overseas. But obviously we want to keep any aspects of information like that to ourselves.' The Post revealed yesterday that Swiss, German, South African and Hong Kong law enforcement agencies had been enlisted to help with the investigation despite the official line that the murders were simply a 'botched robbery gone horribly wrong'. A close friend of Forstenhausler, who has known him for nearly 10 years, said it was an open secret that the German was 'tremendously connected with the people at the very top'. 'He was a friend and a confidant of the Marcos family. Anton also used to sell artefacts and antiques, and he told me he had sold a number of exclusive items to Marcos himself,' said the friend. 'He also told us the story about how he had even been inside the Swiss vaults where the Marcos family is believed to have stashed all the gold and money. He told us how he had seen room after room of gold and priceless gems and artefacts which Marcos had salted away during his regime. 'We had no reason not to believe him. Anton was a very knowledgeable, intellectual, well-connected person.' Lawyer Cesario del Rosario, who has been chasing the Marcos' hidden Swiss accounts on behalf of the Philippine government for more than a decade, confirmed several Europeans were closely linked to the hunt for the ill-gotten gains. The retired commissioner and now consultant of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which is heading the search for the Marcos millions, said: 'It's possible he [Forstenhausler] was a friend of one of the bank trustees of the late Ferdinand Marcos.' He said Marcos had used business associates from Europe to act as dummy fronts for his accounts, to make it hard for anyone to trace them. But in his haste to vacate Malacanang Palace following the popular uprising that forced him out of office in 1986, he left behind documents connected with some of his numbered Swiss accounts. Forstenhausler's niece, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, said yesterday: 'We're not discounting the possibility that he probably knew one of the Marcoses. I don't know everything about him, about all his associations and his friends.' Ms Elamparo's aunt, Josephine, married Forstenhausler in the mid-1990s. She described Schoeni - who owned two art galleries in Hong Kong's fashionable Soho district, as well as one of South Africa's biggest wineries - as 'a very good friend' of her uncle.