Swiss National Bank named in Holocaust Lawsuit

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News for Immediate Release

May 3, 2000

Swiss National Bank named in Holocaust Lawsuit

Plaintiffs in Alperin v. Vatican Bank, a class action lawsuit filed by Jewish, Serb and Ukrainian Holocaust survivors seeking restitution of the Word War II Croatian-Nazi treasury have named the Swiss National Bank and other as yet unnamed Swiss Banks in a motion filed May 3, 2000 in San Francisco Federal Court.

A 1998 US State Department report implicated both the Vatican and Swiss National Bank in the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars of gold, silver, and money looted by the 1941-1945 Croatian regime known as the Ustashe from Serbs, Jews, and others. Plaintiffs originally filed suit in November 1999 and later obtained wartime and postwar US government documents under the Freedom of Information Act that indicated the involvement of Swiss banks in concealing and transferring stolen gold and money between 1944 and 1952 including cash transfers to war criminals in Argentina.

The allegation filed May 3 reads:

According to the Eizenstat Report, the Swiss National Bank acted as a depository for Ustashe loot. The Independent Commission of Experts - Switzerland - Second World War, known as the Bergier Commission, also links Swiss banks with Croatian wartime gold transactions (pg. 21 of report). United States OSS documents as early as 1944 indicate 500 kilograms of gold were deposited by the Croatians in the Swiss National Bank along with 2.5 million francs. A 1946 United Treasury Department report estimates 12 to 16 million francs in gold deposits were still controlled by the Ustashi in Swiss bank accounts. A 1949 CIA document alleges that of 1945, the Ustashi had holdings of 2.5 million Swiss francs, 1,700 kilograms of gold, and 40,000 kilograms of silver in Swiss accounts. A 1948 U.S. Army Intelligence reports confirmed that 2,400 kilos of Ustashi stolen gold were moved from the Vatican to one of the Vatican's secret Swiss bank accounts. Finally, a 1952 CIA document indicates Pavelic, the Ustashi leader, transferred 5 million Swiss francs from Switzerland to Argentina."

However, no Swiss bank has yet been named as a defendant. Plaintiffs’ attorneys have requested clarification from counsel in the recently settled 1.25 billion dollar Swiss Bank Holocaust class action which released Swiss banks from liability for World War II era dealings with the Nazis. Plaintiffs however contend that postwar deposits, possibly from the Vatican Bank to Swiss Banks may be outside the scope of the settlement.

For more information see:
Law Offices of Tom Easton and Jonathan Levy

Jonathan Levy

(513) 528-0586

Tom Easton

(707) 464-4513

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Tom Easton
Tom Easton, Esq
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