Hungary has announced that they want $8 million in damages paid to Holocaust victims to be returned, claiming that the US organization overseeing the payments has failed to show them how the funds were used.
The Hungary government released a statement about the funds on Thursday, according to The Associated Free Press, which reads:
“The US organisation Claims Conference… has not been able to show proper accounts of how the funds received from the Hungarian government were used.”
The statement made by Hungary’s government over the return of Holocaust funds went on to say that it had “requested on several occasions that Claims Conference open its accounts but since it failed to do so, the government has requested that the disputed money be reimbursed with interest.”
The previous Hungarian government signed an agreement with the Public Fund for Jewish Heritage in Hungary in 2007 to pay $21 million (16.7 million euros) over five years to Holocaust survivors. The Hungary public fund (Mazsok) managed the payments for survivors in Hungary, while the Claims Conference did the same for those living abroad. On Thursday, the government stated that:
“In line with the deal, the Hungarian government transferred $12.6 million to Mazsok between 2007 and 2009, two thirds of which went to Claims Conference.”
The Hungarian government is seeking to recover $8 million, as well as interest and added charges, reports The Los Angeles Times. They also would like to have Mazsok oversee the funds distributions for both Hungary and abroad. Greg Schneider, executive vice president of Claims Conference contends that:
“Since this government commissioner has taken over they have not released one penny and have used all kinds of excuses why they can’t release the money and why they won’t.”
The US organization also counters that they have provided detailed reports to Hungary regarding how the money was distributed, including one that was over 400 pages, showing the names of the beneficiaries, as well as that they got and when. Claims Commission has also stated that they learned of the demand from the Hungarian government’s website, instead of communication directly from them.
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