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Although this story isn't about Israel, it could be soon!
Supporters of apartheid Israel - watch out - learn from this -
it could be you being sued if you dont stop your support
and divest from Israel Now!


Banks sued for $50bn in SA class action

Chris McGreal
(in Johannesburg)
The Guardian
18 June 2002

A group of apartheid's victims are suing three banks which breached the international sanctions against white South Africa for $50bn damages, accusing them of collaborating in forced labour, murder, torture and massacres.
The class action, the first of its kind by apartheid victims, is modelled on the one which forced Swiss banks to pay $1.25bn to Holocaust survivors. The documents due to be lodged with the US district court in Manhattan yesterday accuse Citibank, Crédit Suisse and UBS of "profiteering" from apartheid.

They claim that the banks "knowingly financed companies that used, tortured and executed slaves".

"Were it not for the conspiracy of these financial institutions and companies, apartheid would not have been kept alive," the papers say.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, who heads the legal team in South Africa, said the case would be followed by others.

"The targets are the private US-and European-based multinational industries that profiteered from their business dealings in South Africa during the period from 1948 to 1993," he said.

British car companies had branches in South Africa into the 70s, as did Barclays bank. Other companies, including British Aerospace, did business directly with the government. German manufacturers, including Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen, never withdrew from South Africa.

Among those bringing the case is Lulu Petersen, whose dying 12-year-old brother Hector was immortalised in one of the most famous photographs of the beginning of the Soweto uprising in 1976. "We want reparations from those international companies and banks that profited from the blood and misery of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters," she said.

An American lawyer prominent in the Holocaust claim, Ed Fagan, said he was forced to abandon an attempt to serve legal papers on the two Swiss banks, Crédit Suisse and UBS yesterday when he was booed and heckled in Zurich.

Legal experts are divided on the case. David Unterhalter, director of the Mandela Legal Institute in Johannesburg, said: "Apart from all the historical differences, I think it's very important to give some consideration to the political settlement which allowed people not only to settle criminal liability but also civil liability. That constitutional settlement is now threatened by this lawsuit."

Crédit Suisse Group said it believed it had no case to answer because it had abided by Swiss law.