The Swiss supreme court has ruled that the Julius Baer bank breached due diligence rules in the handling of funds belonging to the ruling party in the former German Democratic Republic.
The Federal Court ordered the Zurich-based bank to refund CHF97 million ($97 million) plus accrued interest to the German authorities in charge of privatising the GDR’s state-owned businesses, according to a statement published on Wednesday.
The German BvS – Bundesanstalt für vereinigungsbedingte Sonderaufgaben - claims that the Bank Cantrade, taken over by Julius Baer in 2005, concealed money between 1990 and 1992.
The judges found the former Cantrade management guilty of ignoring basic due diligence rules when transferring assets of the import and export firm Novum and of its manager to Swiss banks after the fall of the Berlin wall.
The funds have never been recovered.
In April 2018, a Zurich appeals court cleared Julius Baer of any wrongdoing following nearly four-years of legal proceedings.
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