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updated: 8/22/2014 10:01 AM

Germany sues Swiss bank for communist-era fortune

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Associated Press

BERLIN -- Germany is suing a Swiss bank to reclaim millions of euros that once belonged to communist East Germany.

BvS, an agency tasked with recovering and managing the communist-era funds, says it asked Zurich's regional court last week to force Bank Julius Baer to return 135 million euros ($179.1 million).

Dieter Freund, an official at the agency, said Friday the lawsuit alleges that from 1989 to 1992 a businesswoman acting for an East German trading company was allowed to make unauthorized withdrawals from Bank Cantrade, which Julius Baer later bought.

The bank contests the claim.

Freund says the BvS agency has already recovered about 252 million euros from Swiss private bank AKB in a related case.

East and West Germany were reunited in 1990.

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