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Deutsche Bank faces $3B claim in US

Wertheim Jewish Education Trust LLC on Jan. 18 sued Deutsche Bank AG for allegedly refusing to return up to $3 billion to the heirs of a wealthy German family, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 19.

The suit, filed in Florida, alleged that the German lender withheld funds originally deposited by Karl Wertheim in Credit Suisse Group AG in 1931. Wertheim was one of the descendants of Joseph Wertheim, a family that amassed a fortune by setting up the KaDeWe department store in Berlin and a textile and manufacturing empire in Frankfurt.

The assets were eventually transferred to Deutsche Bank in 1993.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Tim-Oliver Ambrosius said the lender denies the claims, adding that: "All proceedings initiated against Deutsche Bank in this matter have been decided in favor of Deutsche Bank," according to the report.

The Jewish charitable trust, which claims that Deutsche Bank's refusal to return the sum is preventing the use of the funds for charitable and other purposes, is an heir to the descendants of Joseph Wertheim, Bloomberg News noted. The lawsuit seeks $3 billion and "an accounting of the assets in dispute," the report noted.