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Judge Dismisses Nazi Compensation Suit against German Firms

A federal judge in the United States dismissed a lawsuit on Tuesday that claimed 17 German companies - including BMW, Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank - withheld $100 million (€82.2 million) from a fund for victims of Nazi-era forced labor. Judge William G. Bassler ruled that the case should not be decided by the courts but that diplomats should handle the matter. He noted that German and U.S. officials have already agreed to resolve the issue. The German companies argued they had fulfilled their financial obligations to the $5 billion reparations fund, which is administered by a foundation called "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future.'' The fund has made $3 billion in payments to 1.5 million people around the world. Those bringing the case against them claimed the companies owe an additional $100 million in interest accrued during the delay. Legal teams on both sides of the case agreed last month that when the fund was established in December 1999, German companies promised to pay their $2.5 billion share, plus interest totaling "at least'' the equivalent of $50 million.