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Former slave labourer demands compensation from UBS

A former worker, made to do forced labour for a UBS subsidiary during the Second World War, is demanding compensation from Switzerland's largest bank.

The labourer, who has not been identified, claims he was forced to work for a cement concern in Poland owned by the Swiss Bank Corporation, one of two banks that merged in 1998 to create UBS.

On Monday, UBS confirmed that the Golleschau cement factory in Poznan had made use of slave labour. Spokesman, Michael Willi, said the factory was forcibly taken over by the SS, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

UBS could not say exactly how many slave labourers were used, but a report in the British media said at least 400 prisoners from the nearby Auschwitz concentration camp were forced to work at the factory.

Last week, UBS, along with Switzerland’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse, formally approved a $1.25 billion (SFr2 billion) global settlement aimed at ending the long-running dispute over Holocaust assets.

A US judge has given Swiss companies, which benefited from slave labour until August 25 to decide whether they want to be part of the deal. If they agree, they will be freed from the threat of legal action.

Willi said any use of slave labour involving the banks is already covered under the settlement.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR