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Published on Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (http://www.gata.org)

GATA Chairman Murphy to be interviewed on Tom O''Brien program

By cpowell
Created 2004-11-30 08:00

By Larry Neumeister
Associated Press
Monday November 29, 2004

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/041129/apartheid_lawsuits_2.html [1]

NEW YORK -- Lawsuits seeking more than $400 billion
in damages from U.S. corporations for victims of
apartheid in South Africa were tossed out Monday
by a federal judge who said the claims bordered on
the frivolous.

U.S. District Judge John E. Sprizzo called the actions
of the apartheid regime "repugnant" and said decisions
by the corporations to do business with the regime
may have been "morally suspect or embarrassing."

But he said there was no meaningful assertion by the
plaintiffs that actions by U.S. corporations directly
caused the alleged murders, torture, crimes against
humanity, and other heinous acts in South Africa from
1948 until a decade ago.

The ruling stemmed from lawsuits filed in federal
courts against defendants that included some of the
nation's largest corporations.

The lawsuit had alleged that the apartheid regime
tracked African individuals on U.S.-made computers,
obtained loans from U.S. banks, and kept its military
machines in working order with U.S.-supplied oil.

In tossing out the suits, Sprizzo said they bordered
on the frivolous and noted that it was his job to
"apply the law and not some normative or moral
ideal."

He said the defendants had made no claims that
the U.S. corporations participated in torture,
genocide, killings, and other serious crimes.

"At most, by engaging in business with the South
African regime, defendants benefited from the
unlawful state action of the apartheid government,"
he said.

The judge said the current South African government
had indicated it did not support the lawsuits and that
letting them proceed might injure the government's
ability to handle domestic matters and discourage
investment in its economy.

A message left with a lawyer for the plaintiffs was
not immediately returned.

Owen C. Pell, a lawyer for defendant Citigroup Inc.,
said the judge ruled correctly because he followed
the guidance offered by the Supreme Court in its
most recent rulings related to the subject.

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Source URL:
http://www.gata.org/node/2836