US court says Germany can be sued over Hitler-era bonds
A US court of appeals Wednesday said Germany can be sued by Florida investors seeking reimbursement for post World War I reconstruction bonds that Adolf Hitler stopped paying in the 1930s, a lawyer for the plaintiffs told AFP.
"The court decided that the complaint filed against Germany can proceed to discovery and that the case should not be dismissed because Germany is a 'foreign sovereign,'" said Michael Elsner, who represents Tampa-based World Holdings in the case.
"We requested damages in the hundred of millions of dollars range, it's a number over 450 million dollars," the lawyer added.
The bonds were issued by Germany to rebuild the country after World War I (1914-1918), but repayment was stopped by then chancellor Hitler in 1933 as he was preparing for World War II, court documents showed.
Elsner said Germany has argued that the bonds were repaid after World War II, but that many were stolen by Russian troops at the time, requiring a special document validation process in Germany before any reimbursement claim can be answered.
A German Embassy official in Washington declined to comment on the case.
Elsner said Wednesday's ruling meant investors can continue with their lawsuit seeking repayment, adding that the case would now return to the district court in Miami for further instruction.
© 2010 AFP