Lawyer to pursue Swiss banks over Apartheid era role

Ed Fagan has placed advertisements in the South African press Keystone Archive

An American lawyer has stepped up efforts to launch a class action against Swiss and European banks active during the Apartheid era.

This content was published on December 9, 2001 - 15:35

According to a report in the Swiss newspaper, "Le Matin", Ed Fagan this weekend placed advertisements in the South African press calling on victims of the Apartheid regime to come forward and join a class action.

The paper said the advertisements urged people interested in joining such an action to write to Gloria International Multiconsulting, a company based in north-east Switzerland.

The director of the company, Norbert Gschwend, confirmed on Sunday that the advertisements had been placed by Fagan, who is working on the case in conjunction with Gloria International Multiconsulting.

Gschwend said he hoped to receive "hundreds of replies" from people seeking compensation from both Swiss and European banks.

In the event of a court victory against the banks, Gschwend estimates the financial institutions named in the class action "could have to pay compensation somewhere in the region of $50-100 billion".

In an interview with "Le Matin", Fagan said he had placed the advertisements as part of an ongoing "project of research" to determine whether there was sufficient interest in South Africa to pursue a class action.

In November, Fagan said he had been working on the lawsuit for the past nine months and was very close to filing a claim, which he indicated would be lodged at a court in New York.

A non-governmental South African association, "Jubilee South Africa", also plans to file claims against Swiss banks on behalf of victims of the Apartheid era.

swissinfo with agencies

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