WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (JTA) — Holocaust survivors are calling on the U.S. Federal Reserve to suspend the American operating charters of three Swiss banks alleged to have collaborated with the Nazis. The appeal is related to a class action lawsuit filed against Union Bank of Switzerland, Swiss Bank Corp. and Credit Suisse, charging that the banks aided Nazi Germany by laundering stolen money, jewelry and art treasures during World War II. In a letter to William McDonough, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, lawyers representing the Holocaust survivors asked the Federal Reserve to undertake an investigation of the role that the Swiss banks played with regard to the receipts and transfer of Jewish assets during the Holocaust. “No banking institution should be permitted the privilege of conducting business in this country which has committed and participated in the commission of violations of international law,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote. Switzerland has found itself besieged by mounting international pressure to determine the nature of its relationship with Nazi Germany, the fate of assets belonging to Holocaust victims deposited in Swiss bank accounts and the whereabouts of looted Nazi gold purchased by Swiss banks. The class action lawsuit is one of two filed this year seeking damages from Swiss banks on behalf of Holocaust survivors and their heirs. This suit was filed Oct. 21 by five survivors on behalf of themselves as well as other victims. “The acts of these banks, yet to be fully disclosed, should not be condoned by U.S. banking regulation,” the letter states. “To do so perpetuates an injustice to U.S. citizens who were victims of the Holocaust.”
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