Swiss banks allegedly destroyed records of Jews´ bank accounts (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Ofer Aderet 04/27/12)
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Swiss banks systematically hid and destroyed records of bank accounts
from the Holocaust period, thus preventing their owners from claiming
their money and assets, according to a lawsuit set to be filed next
During the Nazi regime in 1933-1945 some 7 million bank accounts were
created in Switzerland. An estimated 60,000 of them were opened by
Jews in a bid to salvage their property from the Nazis, with the
intention of reclaiming it after World War II.
Years later it emerged that the records of some 3 million of these
accounts had disappeared and been destroyed.
"They all disappeared and were burned. They destroyed the evidence,"
says attorney Roland Roth, an expert in international law, who is
preparing to file a massive suit against the Swiss banks on behalf of
two Israeli clients.
The wholesale destruction of records was first uncovered by Swiss
whistle-blower Christoph Meili. While working as a night guard in UBS
15 years ago, Meili reportedly discovered that bank officials were
shredding documents related to the accounts of deceased clients whose
heirs´ whereabouts were unknown.
In Roth´s estimate, the banks owe Jewish heirs $6 billion, based on
what their accounts would have been worth if they had survived to
this day. "I believe before the Holocaust there were at least 30 more
people - apart from the two I represent - who held a great deal of
property in Switzerland. But they probably didn´t leave evidence to
enable claiming their assets," he said. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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