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|Tuesday, August 08, 2000, updated at 18:51(GMT+8)|
UBS Admits Predecessor Profiting from Nazi Slave Labor During World War TwoFor the first time, Switzerland's biggest bank UBS has admitted that its predecessor benefited from Nazi slave labor during World War Two.
UBS spokesman Michael Willi was quoted by Swiss Radio International as confirming that the Swiss Bank Corporation, one of two banks that merged in 1998 to create UBS, had held a majority stake in a holding firm which itself had a majority share in the Golleschauer cement factory in Poland.
He said the factory was forcibly taken into Nazi administration when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and that documents in Berlin proved that the cement works used slave laborers.
The UBS spokesman did not give an exact figure for the number of people involved but it is claimed that at least 400 prisoners from the nearby Auschwitz concentration camp were forced to work at the factory.
Last week, UBS along with Switzerland's second biggest bank, Credit Suisse, formally approved the 1.25 billion-dollar global settlement aimed at ending the long-running dispute over Holocaust assets.
A US judge has given Swiss companies which benefited from slave labor until August 25 to decide whether they want to be part of the deal. If they agree, they will be free from the threat of legal action.
Willi said any use of slave labor involving the banks is already covered under the settlement.
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