Natan Sharansky and Ronald Lauder Call for Reform at Claims Conference

World Jewry Leaders Want Change After $57M Fraud

Changes Needed: Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency, says the Claims Conference should be reviewed by external agencies after a $57 million fraud.
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Changes Needed: Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency, says the Claims Conference should be reviewed by external agencies after a $57 million fraud.

By JTA

Published July 10, 2013.
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Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder called on the Claims Conference to be reviewed by outside agencies in an investigation following the disclosure of a $57 million fraud scheme.

Sharansky and Lauder, according to the Jerusalem Post, released a joint statement on the first day of the Claims Conference board meeting on Tuesday criticizing the Claims Conference’s leadership for not disclosing a 2001 letter warning about the fraud to the organization’s board of directors — in addition to not disclosing a subsequent report on the letter.

For 15 years, Claims Conference employees embezzled $57 million meant to be restitution for Holocaust survivors. The scandal broke in 2009.

Sharansky and Lauder said in the statement that a committee tasked with recommending changes to the Claims Conference be made up mostly of representatives of other Jewish organizations.

“For far too long there has been a gap between the tireless efforts of the Claims Conference on behalf of the Jewish people and the growing perception that the organization is run like a closed club, with little transparency or accountability in its decision-making process,” Sharansky told the Post.


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