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Gypsy group drops complaint against Swiss Holocaust settlement

Over one million gypsies are believed to have died in the Holocaust

(Keystone)

A United States-based Gypsy organisation has dropped its opposition to the $1.25 billion (SFr2.22 billion) settlement agreed by Swiss banks to compensate Holocaust survivors.

Reports from New York said the Romani Holocaust Survivors group had withdrawn its complaint just three days before the federal appeals court was due to consider it on Thursday.

The New York judge, Edward Korman, was quoted as saying the way was now clear for $43 million from the fund to be paid out. The money would benefit mainly former forced labourers and refugees turned away at the Swiss border.

The main Swiss banks -UBS and Credit Suisse - welcomed the news that payments could now be made from the fund.

The banks agreed the billion-dollar figure with Jewish groups nearly three years ago to settle claims by Holocaust survivors. But the plan was criticised by the Gypsy community because the bulk of the money - $800 million - was set aside for holders of dormant accounts and their heirs.

Over one million Gypsies are believed to have died in the Holocaust.

Burt Neuborne, a New York lawyer representing Holocaust victims, said the appeal had had no chance of success. "It was lacking in any legal basis," Neuborne said.

The appeal, lodged last December, condemned the settlement as "unjust and arbitrary" and said it ignored the Gypsy community.

The Romani Holocaust Survivors decision leaves just two appeals against the settlement outstanding.

swissinfo with agencies


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