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Nachmann Appears to Have Embezzled More Funds Than Originally Thought

The late Werner Nachmann appears to have embezzled more money than originally estimated from government funds set aside to pay compensation to Jews persecuted during the Nazi era.

Nachmann, who was chairman of the Central Council of Jews in West Germany until his sudden death in January, had access to the government funds entrusted to the Central Council for disbursement.

He apparently misappropriated some 33 million marks ($18 million) of interest earned on the 400 million mark hardship reparations fund established by the Finance Ministry in Bonn.

But investigators are focusing now on 5 million marks ($2.7 million) that disappeared from a 40 million mark government allowance to the Central Council.

Both funds were controlled by Nachmann. He and Alexander Ginsberg, former secretary of the Central Council, were the only Jewish community officers who had access to both bank accounts.

Sources close to the Central Council say it will take months to complete the investigation.