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Final list of Holocaust accounts to be made public

The Swiss Bankers' Association is to publish on January 31 the names of 26,000 holders of dormant accounts dating from the Holocaust era. The bankers hope this will bring to a close a controversy that has dogged Switzerland since 1997.

This third and final list of names is to be published on the Internet. A New York federal court will decide on January 19 how the list will be distributed as well as how claims should be handled.

At stake is a share of the $800 million (SFr1.3 billion) available to the holders of these accounts or their heirs. This sum is part of the $1.25 billion settlement signed by the Swiss banks and Holocaust survivors in 1998.

Some 600,000 people are expected to make claims. Among them are the holders of 46,000 dormant accounts from the 1933-1945 period.

Two court-appointed officials have recommended that the Internet list be formatted in such a fashion that a simple search could be carried out according to a name, place or country.

The officials have also recommended that the international Claims Resolution Tribunal in Zurich - which has dealt with claims from the two previous lists since 1997 - be given access to all the data the collected from the banks.

This would include information about all of the four million accounts checked by the Volcker Commission, which lead the three-year inquiry into dormant accounts dating from the Nazi era.

swissinfo with agencies


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