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Swiss banker cleared of anti-Semitic remarks in New Yorker

December 5, 1997

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ Prosecutors have dropped their investigation of a retired Swiss banker accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in an interview with The New Yorker magazine.

Zurich District Attorney Thomas Wuergler said Friday he closed the investigation because he was unable to prove that Robert Holzach, honorary chairman of Switzerland’s largest bank, had made the comments attributed to him.

Longtime staff writer Jane Kramer paraphrased Holzach, 75, as saying ``a Jewish conspiracy″ to take over the world’s largest banks was behind criticism of Swiss banks over unclaimed assets of Holocaust victims.

In New York, the magazine’s vice president of public relations, Maurie Perl, said New Yorker wasn’t part of any proceedings in Switzerland, but ``we certainly believe our article was accurate and we stand by our reporter.″

Wuergler said his investigation ``failed to demonstrate that Holzach made the remarks,″ but he declined to say what steps he took to reach that conclusion.

Holzach, one of two honorary chairmen at the Union Bank of Switzerland, has denied making the statements, and the bank has denounced such views.

Wuergler opened the investigation because of a complaint over the article filed by a Basel state legislator, Marcel Hess. He said Friday that an Oct. 27 decree terminated the investigation after Hess failed to appeal the decision.

In his original complaint Hess cited a passage in the article, ``Manna from Hell,″ in the April 28 and May 5 issue of the magazine.

``He said that the banking scandal was really a war,″ Kramer wrote. ``It had to do with a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world’s ‘prestige financial markets,’ something he told me is already happening in New York, London, and ’even Frankfurt.‴

Holzach said he gave Kramer a 90-minute interview on March 11, but that he never made any anti-Semitic references or spoke of a Jewish conspiracy.

``Inaccuracies and untruths″ crept into the 10-page article, Holzach said.

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