September 17, 1998




The Independent Committee of Eminent Persons ("ICEP") has released today a Status Report. The report reviews the background, current status, and results achieved so far by the forensic accounting investigation being conducted at Swiss banks by ICEP. Earlier reports have been made through periodic Committee announcements to the press, at meetings with the press, and through letters of Chairman Volcker to District Judge Edward R. Korman, the Judge presiding over the Holocaust victims' assets litigation. Progress in the second phase of ICEP's investigation, together with the settlement of the class action litigation before Judge Korman, provide the occasion for this review of the present status of the investigation.

As an Annex, the Status Report also includes a copy of the final Report of the Panel of Experts on Interest, Fees, and Other Charges. The Panel has made recommendations concerning the amount of interest to be paid on dormant accounts, and these recommendations will be considered by the Board of Trustees of the Independent Claims Resolution Foundation as the basis for the preparation of guidance on interest and fees for the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland.

The Status Report also reviews the progress of the Claims Resolution Tribunal in adjudicating the 9,500 claims that have been made to the 5,570 accounts published by the Swiss Bankers Association in July and October 1997. To help describe the work of the Tribunal, in another Annex, the report contains is a series of slides that were used in a presentation by the Secretariat's staff in an open meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Independent Claims Resolution Foundation on September 11, 1998.

The Committee's central purpose was established by a Memorandum of Understanding by its founding private organizations ­ the World Jewish Restitution Organization (and allied organizations) and the Swiss Bankers Association. It is to provide the basis for restitution of monies owed to victims of Nazi persecution or their heirs who entrusted funds to Swiss banks for safekeeping before and during World War II, to make as full an accounting as feasible of the custody of these funds by Swiss banks, and to satisfy the historic need for a moral accounting for present and future generations of critical events surrounding World War II. The Status Report lists the names of the banks that are currently being investigated and those banks that are to be investigated by the end of the year.

For a copy of ICEP's Status Report, please email ICEP at info@icep-iaep.org with your name and address.

The Independent Committee of Eminent Persons
20 rue de Candolle (3rd Floor), 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
email: info@icep-iaep.org    &    icep-iaep.org :web