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Gypsies charged with Holocaust fund fraud

Three gypsies have been charged by the Polish authorities with embezzling money from a Swiss fund to aid victims of the Holocaust. It follows complaints that Holocaust survivors have been cheated by their own representatives.

This content was published on February 21, 2000 - 08:47

Three gypsies have been charged by the Polish authorities with embezzling money from a Swiss fund to aid victims of the Holocaust. It follows complaints that Holocaust survivors have been cheated by their own representatives.

Under the terms of the fund, some 1,500 Polish gypsies were entitled to federal aid worth SFr1,500 each. However, it is now thought that in a number of cases the victims received only 1,500 zlotys (SFr585), just over a third of the intended sum.

In response to complaints from a number of gypsy associations, the public prosecutor's office in Bielsko-Biala has formally charged three men with embezzlement. They include Roman Kwiatkowski, the head of the organisation which was given the task of distributing the aid, and two of his assistants.

Kwiatkowski rejected the charges, which he described as lies. He added that they were the result of false accusations put about by people trying to cause trouble within the gypsy community.

According to Polish media sources, up to SFr1.3 million may have been syphoned from the fund. The fund was set up in 1997 by the big Swiss banks, and included contributions from industry and the Swiss National Bank.

From staff and wire reports

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