Swiss Welcome U.S. Holocaust Ruling

July 27, 2000

A U.S. judge’s decision to approve a $1.25 billion settlement to restore Holocaust-era assets to their rightful owners was met with open arms by Swiss banks, insurers and the government. Swiss banks reportedly agreed to pay the settlement, which is tied to their handling of Holocaust-era accounts.

Also, four Swiss insurers agreed to pay $50 million toward settling claims. The Swiss Bankers Association and the two Swiss banks at the core of the settlement were quick to welcome the ruling, which was two years in the making.

“We are pleased that Judge Korman has finally approved the fundamental fairness of the agreement. We hope the distribution plan will now be speedily drawn up and approved so that those with justified claims can receive funds as quickly as possible,” said James Nason, a spokesman for the banking industry group, according to a Reuters news service report.

In a joint statement, Switzerland’s largest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, said that the Swiss Bankers Association would publish a list of names on the Internet of dormant or closed accounts that might have belonged to Holocaust victims.

“The verdict reached by Judge Korman in the fairness hearing has cleared the way for the settlement to be made,” the two banks said. “The banks hope that those Holocaust survivors or their heirs with an entitlement to the monies from the fund will receive the amounts they are due as soon as possible.”

The banks now have seven days to accept or reject amendments made in Wednesday’s ruling. Should the banks reject the amendments, the original settlement will stand. According to Reuters, a court-appointed official will then have 30 days to submit a plan for distributing the payments.

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