Stories have been circulating for years about the involvement of Chase Manhattan Bank and JP Morgan with the Nazi regime in Germany. Both banks have been accused of plundering millions of dollars in Jewish assets during World War II, seizing accounts and safe deposit boxes from Jewish customers and keeping them. A new report has surfaced, part of a book titled 'US Intelligence and the Nazis'. According to The New York Daily News, the report, which includes 240,000 pages of previously unreleased FBI information, reveals that Chase helped the Nazis raise over $20m in foreign exchange between 1936 and 1941 and was paid $500,000 in fees for its troubles.
Many of the accusations relating to the alleged plunder of Jewish assets centre on France. When the Nazis occupied Paris in 1940, most American banks closed their offices. Although Chase is said to have initially ordered the closure of its own office, a new representative was appointed and the deposits are said to have rolled in. JP Morgan's Paris office is also said to have worked closely with the Germans. According to a 1998 lawsuit, the local manager openly bragged of the 'anti-Jewish record and policies' of the bank.
JP Morgan Chase will not welcome this story making the headlines again. A spokesman for the bank said last week that 'we long ago addressed the historic involvement (of the bank). The firm issued a public acknowledgment and apology on this troubling matter more than four years ago'.