$4.1B for Holocaust – Sales spread over five years

The Swiss government plans to use $4.1 billion from sales of surplus gold reserves to set up a foundation to aid victims of poverty and war, the Associated Press reports.

The foundation is intended as a response to allegations that neutral Switzerland profited from its dealings with Germany during World War II and retained some bank deposits of Holocaust victims.

According to the ruling coalition Cabinet, the profits from 500 tons of gold — more than a third of what the government intends to sell — will go to the foundation.

The gold sales will be spread out over several years to avoid damaging the gold market.

The foundation’s mission would be to finance projects at home and abroad to battle poverty, curb violence, combat genocide and rebuild shattered communities, and aid disaster and genocide victims including Holocaust survivors.

The proposal did little to halt international criticism, and two of the four parties in the ruling Swiss coalition have expressed reservations.

If the foundation is approved by the Swiss parliament, which could take a year, it would still have to pass a national referendum, which could take another year.

The Swiss government plans to sell about 1,300 tons of gold.

Monday that does not go to the foundation could be used to reduce public debt, for training in new technologies and to help finance the social security system, the government said.

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