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News > Newsmakers
Report: Spitzer looking at WJC
Series of money transfers made by group's leader has caught attorney general's eye, newspaper says.
December 31, 2004: 9:12 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Thanks to an odd series of money transfers ordered by the leader of the World Jewish Congress, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has launched an informal inquiry into the organization, a newspaper reported Friday.

Officials from Spitzer's office told the New York Times that they've contacted organization insiders and others in the U.S. and overseas regarding the transactions, and that the organization appears to be trying to head off a full-blown investigation.

"I'm more than happy to give them anything and everything they may want to see, Stephen E. Herbits, who was hired by the organization's chief patron to overhaul governance and financial management, told the newspaper.

The organization's senior vice president and most active internal critic, Isi Leibler, has demanded an independent audit of the group and extensive governance and financial management reforms, the Times said.

Transfers by Rabbi Israel Singer, the group's leader, totaling $1.2 million are among the actions questioned by Leibler, the report said.

From October 2002 to February 2003, Singer, who has led the WJC since 1985, ordered that the money be transferred to a UBS branch in Geneva from the organization's New York account, the newspaper said.

The World Jewish Congress, a tiny nonprofit that has won billions in Holocaust restitution from banks, companies and governments in Europe, said the money never left its control and its auditor concurs, the Times said.

According to the report, Herbits has been to Israel and Europe to court support for better internal oversight.  Top of page

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