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City finance department ordered to take smaller cut of dictator’s estate

The city’s Department of Finance tried to help itself to more than $800,000 from the estate of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos — over the objection of victims his regime tortured.

But a Manhattan Supreme Court justice largely shut down the money grab Friday — saying most of the funds belong to the victims.

Lead plaintiffs Osqugama Swezey and Jose Duran sued the city for the money in 2013 after securing a $2 billion judgment against Marcos.

Their lawyers then went after Marcos’ US assets, including a $40 million Merrill Lynch account in New York. Those funds ultimately ended up in a city account after they were abandoned by the Philippine government.

But city officials wanted a 2 percent “administration fee” before releasing the funds to the victims.

Justice Charles Ramos sliced the fee to 0.5 percent and handed the rest — $625,000 — to the victims.

A city Law Department spokesman said, “Our position was that the city could not waive the fee because it is set by statute.”