Dutch Banks, World Jewish Congress Reach $135 Million Holocaust Accord

June 16, 2000

Dutch banks and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange have reached a preliminary agreement with leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) to settle outstanding Holocaust claims for a figure of $135 million, $3 million more than the recently announced offer by the Dutch.

The settlement, which came after nearly 2 years of negotiations, will clear the way for Dutch companies, notably insurer and financial giant ING, to conclude ongoing transactions in the U.S. Many groups have been opposed to allowing companies that hadn’t agreed to examine and settle Holocaust claims, to continue business as usual, putting pressure on insurance commissioners, legislatures and regulatory bodies to delay or deny necessary authorizations.

ING, which has agreed to buy Minnesota’s ReliaStar, and is in negotiations to acquire Aetna’s international and asset management units, has been under especially heavy pressure. Instrumental to the accord was the recent Agreement of the Dutch Insurance Association, to which practically all Dutch insurance companies belong, to join the International panel, which is examining Holocaust claims, and make archives and other records available. The claims in question concern not only unpaid insurance policies, but also Jewish bank accounts, securities and other property stolen by Holland’s nazi occupiers during the Second World War.

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