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Wednesday, May 6, 1998 Published at 02:26 GMT 03:26 UK


Despatches

'Half-a-million' Holocaust pay out

Many Jews put their money into Swiss banks

The BBC's New York Correspondent, Jane Hughes, reports:

The daughter of a Holocaust victim has accepted an undisclosed sum, estimated to be around $500,000, from one of the main Swiss banks in compensation for assets which her father deposited in the bank before World War II.

Campaigners say her victory could lead to the swifter resolution of other claims against the banks.

When Estelle Sapir last saw her father in a concentration camp in 1943, she says he described to her in detail where his assets were deposited.

Estelle Sapir is now 72, and has been one of the leading plaintiffs in a class action suit against Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks on behalf of some 40,000 Holocaust survivors and their relatives.

But until now Credit Suisse had refused to release any of her father's assets.

The bank says it has now decided to change its mind because it found a sufficient basis in the facts.

It has agreed to pay Mrs Sapir an undisclosed sum, widely believed to be up to $500,000 in compensation for the lost assets.

Her New York lawyers have described the settlement as an historic breakthrough, which paves the way for the resolution of other claims against the banks.

Mrs Sapir said she welcomed the agreement not for the money, but for the justice.



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