September 10, 1999

For Immediate Release


Independent Committee of Eminent Persons

Paul A. Volcker, Chairman of the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons, expressed his regrets today about the premature and poorly informed speculation on the results of the three-year investigation of dormant accounts of victims of Nazi persecution in Swiss banks. He said that:

The media stories that have circulated so far are a mixture of fiction and misinterpreted fact that seriously distort the results of a very complex, thorough, and intensive investigation. The premature reports incorrectly anticipate a report that is now in an incomplete draft containing over 300 pages and recording an investigation employing over 500 forensic accountants to review millions of documents.

Chairman Volcker also emphasized that numbers of accounts in isolation and taken out of context are meaningless, and that the Committee is still in the process of drafting its report that, when completed, will be made available in full to the media and the public. He said the Committee would complete its work and present its findings in an organized, careful manner that will preserve the context of its results. He urged all concerned to avoid partial and competing disclosures of portions of the draft report taken out of context.

Chairman Volcker said that a balanced assessment of the results of the investigation can only be possible when the report and its full documentation become available. He said the Committee will seek to accelerate its work to assure that the report will be available in a timely manner to Judge Korman and to potential claimants in the class action Holocaust Victims' Assets lawsuit.