News from and about Ukraine & Ukrainians: Ukrainian Community Press Releases
BRAMA, September 27, 2002, 6 pm ET
US Court Increases Payments Under Swiss Banks Settlement
GENEVA, 27 September 2002 - With his memorandum and order issued on 25 September 2002, Chief Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in accordance with the recommendations of Special Master Judah Gribetz, has increased the amounts to be distributed to members of certain classes of claimants under the Swiss Bank Settlement Agreement. The order allows the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to pay an additional 45% to all claimants belonging to Slave Labour Class I and the Refugee Class.
Eligible claimants under Slave Labour Class I will now receive US$1,450 and those under the Refugee Class will receive either US$3,625 if they were denied entry into Switzerland, or US$725 if they were admitted to Switzerland but mistreated afterwards.
The US$10 million fund for humanitarian assistance for needy, elderly survivors of Nazi persecution allocated by the Swiss Bank Settlement Agreement and administered and monitored by IOM was also increased by 45%. The first humanitarian projects were launched in August in the Czech Republic and Ukraine.
"We are very happy that many of our claimants will now receive more money," the Director of IOM's Compensation Programmes Dirk De Winter pointed out, stressing that second payments resulting from this order will be made as soon as possible.
The additional funds derive from unanticipated tax relief and interest earned on the US$1.25 billion Settlement Fund. The category of Slave Labour Class II, that is, all persons who performed slave labour for a company owned by or affiliated with a Swiss entity, may be the subject of a further recommendation pending resolution of legal proceedings relating specifically to that class.
As of September 2002, IOM has made payments to 436 Slave Labour Class I claimants. Payments to Refugee Class claimants are expected to begin this fall.
In the framework of the Swiss Banks Settlement, an agreement reached between Holocaust survivors and Swiss banks in 1999 that resulted from litigation before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, IOM pays compensation to Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and handicapped persons who were persecuted by the Nazi regime and performed slave labour for German companies (Slave Labour Class I), and those persons who were either denied entry into Switzerland or admitted but mistreated there as refugees (Refugee Class). IOM also pays compensation to Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution who performed slave labour for certain Swiss companies (Slave Labour Class II).
Under its Holocaust Victims Assets Programme - Swiss Banks, IOM received a total of 23,956 claims before the filing deadline on 31 December 2001: 13,097 for Slave Labour Class I, 10,655 for Slave Labour Class II and 204 Refugee Class claims. In addition, IOM is also receiving and paying overlap claims from the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme.
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