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Lawyer Rips Insurers’ Holocaust Secrecy

An American lawyer for Holocaust victims and heirs said Sunday that European insurance companies cannot “hide behind secrecy,” as he publicized a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars in compensation for money lost in insurance policies.

Lawyer Edward Fagan said his clients were seeking $1 billion each from 16 European insurance companies to compensate for policies that they claim were never paid off. Fagan said a hearing was set for New York on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, similar to one already filed against Swiss banks, is on behalf of 10,000 people who purchased insurance policies in the World War II era but whose claims were denied.

Three Swiss companies - Winterthur, Basler and Zurich Insurance - are named in the lawsuit.

Fagan, who was in Zurich for unspecified research, said Winterthur admitted having policies that might belong to Holocaust victims but refused to reveal their names.

“They can’t hide behind secrecy,” Fagan said. “It’s just a matter of time with both the banks and insurance companies.”

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