New York comptroller endorses Deutsche, Bankers Trust deal

Bank's progress noted on Holocaust claims

Banking

May 06, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- Deutsche Bank AG's takeover of Bankers Trust Corp. should be allowed to proceed because the German bank has made progress in negotiating Holocaust-related claims, New York City's top financial officer said yesterday.

New York City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi previously asked U.S. and New York state regulators to delay approval of the purchase until Deutsche Bank resolved the claims.

While a final settlement on Holocaust-related claims has not been reached, Hevesi changed his position after learning of progress in talks in letters received yesterday from Deutsche Bank Chairman Rolf Breuer and World Jewish Congress Secretary General Israel Singer, and from presentations made last month by other parties involved in negotiations.

"It is appropriate at this time to acknowledge the efforts and good will of German companies and the German government," Hevesi said.

The New York officials, along with Jewish leaders, had threatened to try to delay the $10.1 billion acquisition until Deutsche, Germany's biggest bank, settled claims from Holocaust victims and their heirs seeking compensation for assets looted during World War II and Nazi-era atrocities.

Last year, Hevesi threatened sanctions against companies that had not settled Holocaust-related claims. That led Swiss banks to reach a $1.25 billion settlement of claims.

The Deutsche Bank-Bankers Trust merger would create the world's biggest financial services company. Bankers Trust acquired Baltimore-based Alex. Brown on Sept. 1, 1997.

Pub Date: 5/06/99

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