ZURICH, July 20 (JTA) — The Swiss Bankers Association is set to announce this week the names of 775 people who opened Swiss bank accounts during World War II that have remained unclaimed, a spokesman for the association has confirmed. The names of the 775 holders of dormant accounts are expected to be published Wednesday in newspapers around the world, including publications in the United States, Israel and Australia. The names will also be made available Wednesday on the Internet. Swiss banks will cover the cost of the advertisements, which are expected to total several million dollars. The names of an additional 20,000 holders of dormant accounts, all of whom are Swiss nationals, will be published by Oct. 20, according to a spokesman for the Volcker Commission. The Volcker Commission, as the Independent Commission of Eminent Persons is informally known, was created by the World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Swiss Bankers Association in May 1996 to investigate the dormant accounts. The Volcker panel, which also studied how the Swiss banks handled inquiries from potential heirs of the dormant accounts, has agreed with the banks’ critics and created a new system to resolve claims. As a result, Hanspeter Hani, the ombudsman appointed by the Swiss Bankers Association to handle claims against the dormant accounts, will be replaced as of July 23 by the international auditing firm ATAG Ernst & Young in Basel, Switzerland, which will then have sole responsibility for handling such claims. The company is scheduled to set up help desks in countries such as the United States and Israel to assist claimants. Claims must be submitted within 6 months of the publication date of the names of account holders. If claimants are rejected, they will be referred to an international appeal panel to be appointed by the Volcker Commission. There will be no charge for processing the claim forms, copies of which will be available in Hebrew.
Swiss banks set to disclose names of unclaimed accounts