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Swiss bank Julius Baer has to repay GDR assets


Julius Baer’s headquarters in Zurich
Image: Julius Baer Bank / Photo Ingrid Jost-Freie

The legal dispute concerned payments from an account set up by former GDR officials. Now Bär wants to claim the money back from UBS.

D.he Swiss bank Julius Baer has to repay former GDR assets that have landed in Swiss accounts. This was decided by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court after years of litigation, as the bank announced on Friday. It’s about assets and interest totaling 150 million francs (almost 140 million euros). The bank had already set up a provision for this in 2019.

According to the bank, the money came from a GDR foreign trade company and between 1990 and 1992 ended up in the company’s accounts at the Swiss bank Cantrade, which Julius Baer had taken over from UBS in 2005. The Federal Agency for Unification-related Special Tasks (BvS), the successor to the Treuhandanstalt, which, among other things, takes care of funds that members of the SED regime had put aside after the fall of the Wall, had sued.

The problematic payments were known when the bank was taken over, said Julius Baer. She will therefore reclaim them from the seller. That was the big bank UBS at the time. The BvS ceased operations on January 1, 2001. Since then it has only existed as a legal and property holder. The Treuhandanstalt had been designated as the fiduciary administrator of the assets of the party and mass organizations.

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