Newsletter : 7fax0916.txt
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>JN Sept. 16, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 170
Up to 200,000 Unclaimed Swiss Accounts May Exist
Two years after Swiss banks said they had fewer than 800
unclaimed Holocaust-era accounts, they are now poised to reveal
that up to 200,000 accounts may have been found, sources said.
Banking authorities were expected to announce soon that 100,000 to
200,000 unclaimed World War 2 accounts belonging to Swiss citizens
were still in their banks.
Will Swiss Guard be Charged?
By Lisa Schlein (VOA-Geneva)
A Swiss prosecutor says he hopes to decide next month if he
will press criminal charges against a former security guard for
allegedly breaking Switzerland's bank secrecy law. The guard fled
to the United States after saying he received death threats because
he blocked the bank from destroying Holocaust-era records.
The Zurich district prosecutor hinted he might drop criminal
charges against the former guard, Christoph Meilli. He said the
documents Meilli rescued from the bank's shredder might not have
violated bank secrecy laws because they were more than 50 years
The prosecutor's announcement was made after a group of 700
academics and lawyers demanded Switzerland end its investigation
of the former security guard. The head of a group called
Democratic Swiss Jurists, Bruno Kauffman, says Swiss authorities
are pursuing the investigation against Meilli to deter other
"We think that the Swiss authorities would, with the case of
Meilli, make other people afraid to tell publicly of problems with
the financial place in Switzerland after the Second World War."
Kauffman says his organization will offer free legal advice to
people who are afraid to come forward with information they might
have about Switzerland's war-time dealings with the Nazis.
Meilli fled to the United States with his wife and two children in
April, saying he was afraid his life was in danger. Under a special
procedure, Congress granted him a residency permit. Meilli has been
treated as a hero by Jewish groups and Congress for defying the
Swiss banking establishment.
The DSJ says Meilli is innocent of any wrongdoing. They say it was
the Union Bank of Switzerland which committed an illegal act by
destroying wartime documents.
The Zurich prosecutor says he is investigating whether the bank
violated a federal decree which prohibits destruction of records
left by Holocaust victims. The bank, which called the shredding
a regrettable mistake, has not pressed charges against the former
Egypt Advises Against U.S.-Turkish-Israeli Naval Maneuvers
By Amberin Zaman (VOA-Ankara)
Turkey's president, Suleyman Demirel, travels Tuesday to Egypt,
where he is expected to try to calm mounting Arab concerns about
Turkey's military relations with Israel.
Officials close to the talks say Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
will try to persuade Demirel to call off planned naval maneuvers by
Turkey, Israel and the United States that are scheduled off the
Israeli coast in November.
The exercises are part of expanding military ties between Turkey
and Israel. Last year, the two countries signed a military
cooperation agreement that allows Israeli air force pilots to train
over Turkish territory.
Turkey's Arab neighbors led by Syria have described the agreement
as a threat to peace and security in the Middle East. But Turkey
says the deal does not constitute a threat to its regional
neighbors. In fact, Demirel is widely expected to renew an
invitation to Egypt to join the exercises. But Mubarak is expected
In private, some Turkish officials describe closer ties with Israel
as Turkey's best foreign policy move since Turkey joined Nato in
the 1950s. Ankara has long complained that despite close
historical and religious ties with the Arab world, Turkey has
rarely received support from Arab leaders on important diplomatic
Analysts say Israel is campaigning for Turkey's inclusion in the
European Union. They say it is transferring military and other
technology to Turkey. And they say it also has helped move the
powerful Jewish lobby in the United States to support Turkey.
IDF Base to Become International Airport
By IINS News Service
As part of the budgetary agreements between the Finance and
Defense Ministry, the Air Force Base Chatzor will be sold, the
monies given to the Defense Ministry, and the land developed to
become Israel's new international airport.
The agreement to turn over proceeds from sales of IDF-owned
properties was struck between the two ministries, to compensate the
Defense Ministry for a large budget cut accepted in the 1998 state
Senior Air Force officials stated the idea was raised in the past
but the plan to convert the base into a civilian commercial
international airport was scrapped for technical reasons.
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