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Red Cross: further investigation rejects spy claim

March 4, 1997

GENEVA (AP) _ Months of investigation have turned up no evidence that Nazi spies infiltrated the Red Cross during World War II, a Red Cross spokesman said Monday.

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross said its investigation cleared the names of 15 former employees _ but it turned up details on three others who it said appeared to have ``committed reprehensible acts.″

The initial allegations came from declassified documents from the forerunner of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Service. They were made public by U.S. Sen. Alphonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., last year.

The wartime accusations included claims that Red Cross staffers spied for Germany and dealt in property taken from Nazi victims.

The Red Cross said it had not discovered any links to Nazi activities in its six months of investigation, which followed a preliminary investigation last year.

Red Cross officials have said many of the allegations might have resulted from ignorance about its work. Delegates have access to enemy prisoners in POW camps and often meet representatives of the enemy on cease-fire lines or in neutral countries.

The latest research focused on three people: Giuseppe Beretta, Jean-Roger Pagan and Jean Sublet. The Red Cross said Beretta and Pagan were motivated by by ``personal gain.″

Pagan, an employee in 1941-42, apparently received Swiss francs, worth $2,500 and $5,000 then, to pass on information to the Germans about Allied activities in North Africa, the Red Cross said.

A military court in Algiers convicted Pagan of espionage, and he was executed by firing squad in 1944.

The Red Cross said Beretta exchanged money on the black market in Turkey. He was also dismissed.

As for Sublet, the Red Cross dismissed him in 1944 after learning he allegedly passed information to the German Consulate in Tangiers, allowing a Frenchman working for the Germans to evade French legal authorities in Morocco.

Sublet acknowledged the facts but ``admitted to nothing more than having disclosed confidential information in an ill-considered manner,″ the Red Cross statement said.

Kim Gordon-Bates, a Red Cross spokesman, said the cases were isolated incidents.

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