Holocaust Era Swiss Bank funds can be claimed against new published list of 3,100 names



U.S. District Court announces Holocaust-era Swiss funds can be claimed against new published list of 3,100 names

Banks Agree to Release 3,100 Additional Names After Lengthy Talks; New Bank Account Claims Due No Later than July 13, 2005

Swiss Bank Settlement Fund Reaches $690 Million in Distributions Affecting 328,000 Persons:

$219 Million Distributed to Owners of 2,800 Holocaust-era Swiss Bank Accounts

$255 Million Distributed to 176,000 Surviving Slave Laborers

$205 Million Distributed or Firmly Committed to Social Agencies Serving the Poorest Survivors

$11 Million Distributed to Wartime Refugees Denied Entry or Persecuted in Switzerland

Jan. 13, 2005 — On January 13, 2005, the Swiss Bank Holocaust settlement fund will publish an additional list of 2,700 names of potential Swiss bank account owners, and the names of 400 Power of Attorney Holders of Swiss bank accounts. The newly-published accounts are “probably or possibly” owned by Victims of Nazi Persecution, and were open in a Swiss bank between 1933-1945. The publication is being made in connection with the administration of the $1.25 billion settlement between Holocaust survivors and Swiss banks reached in January, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York before Chief Judge Edward R. Korman.

Publication of the newly available information is the result of extensive negotiations with the Swiss banks in an effort to provide claimants with all available information. 2,400 of the newly- published names were identified by an audit conducted by Paul Volcker in December, 1999, as “probably or possibly” owned by Holocaust victims. Swiss banking authorities declined to permit their publication in February 2001. After extensive negotiations, the Swiss authorities have now authorized the publication of the 2,400 names.

In addition, the newly-published names include accounts identified by Switzerland in 1962 as potentially owned by Holocaust victims that have been published earlier, but that have not yet been claimed. The newly published names also include accounts owned by Polish and Hungarian depositors that were published locally in Poland and Hungary, but that have not been the subject of worldwide publication. Certain other names were obtained by CRT investigators from publicly available archival sources. Finally, 400 Power of Attorney Holders are separately listed in an effort to provide additional information about the newly-published accounts.

Publication of the information concerning the newly-published accounts on January 13, 2005 will begin a new six-month claims period, ending on July 13, 2005, during which owners of the newly published accounts or their heirs may file a claim to a newly-published bank account with the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT), established by the District Court to administer the bank account claims process. A complete list of the 3,100 names and all necessary application forms are available at the website of the CRT, www.crt-ii.org. Potential claimants may also call designated help centers throughout the world for information concerning the claims process.

An earlier list of approximately 21,000 accounts was similarly published in February, 2001. The claims period for the February, 2001 accounts has expired. CRT will accept new claims only in connection with the newly published accounts.

Thus far, the CRT has identified approximately 2,800 Swiss bank accounts owned by Victims of Nazi Persecution, and has awarded approximately $219 million to bank account claimants. The CRT is continuing to process bank account claims and anticipates awarding substantial additional funds to claimants. The District Court has allocated up to $800 million for the payment of bank account claims. Until now, bank account claims have been matched by the CRT against a data base consisting of 36,000 accounts identified by the Volcker Audit as potentially owned by Holocaust victims. As a result of extensive negotiations, the CRT is now authorized to match particularly promising claims against larger databases consisting of up to 4.1 million accounts open during the relevant period for which any records survive. Unfortunately, all records of more than 2 million accounts have been destroyed by the banks, making it impossible to trace their ownershi! p.

Burt Neuborne, the New York University Law Professor designated by the Court to serve as lead Settlement Counsel, announced the following interim distribution figures for the settlement fund:

“I am pleased to announce that approximately $700 million has now been distributed from the Swiss bank settlement to Holocaust victims or their heirs. The CRT has identified 2,800 Swiss bank accounts owned by Holocaust victims, and has awarded approximately $219 million, with significant additional distributions anticipated,” said Professor Neuborne.

“In addition, researchers have identified about 158,000 surviving Jewish slave laborers, and 18,000 Roma surviving slave laborers, and have made payments of $1,450 to each, totaling approximately $255 million. Judge Korman has allocated $205 million to social service agencies to assist the poorest victims of Nazism throughout the world with food, clothing, fuel and other necessities. More than $10 million has been distributed to more than 4,000 Jewish and Roma refugees who were barred from Switzerland or mistreated there during WW II,” said Professor Neuborne.

“All told, the Swiss bank settlement has now touched the lives of more than 300,000 Holocaust survivors and victims’ heirs. We will not rest until every claim has been carefully investigated.

“Great credit should go to the dedicated staff of the CRT, as well as the extraordinary efforts of the Claims Conference and the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, whose research, computer, and administrative skills have made it possible to carry out the most extensive individual claims program ever undertaken by an American class action,” said Professor Neuborne.

Website for list of names: www.crt-ii.org