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.

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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