Mon, Jun 01, 2015 - Page 6 News List

US$20.2m in US benefits went to ex-Nazis: report

AP, WASHINGTON

More than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards and others who might have participated in the Third Reich’s atrocities during World War II collected US$20.2 million in retirement benefits, according to the US Social Security Administration’s inspector general.

In a report to be released this week and obtained by The Associated Press, the inspector general said nearly a quarter of the total, US$5.7 million, went to individuals who were found to have played a role in the Nazi persecution and had been deported.

More than US$14 million was paid to people who were not deported, but were alleged or found to have assisted the Nazis during World War II.

The report comes seven months after a probe revealed that benefits were paid to former Nazis after they were forced out of the US.

The US Department of Justice used a legal loophole to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the US in exchange for social security benefits, the report said, adding that if they went voluntarily, or simply fled the country before being deported, they could keep their benefits.

The US Congress passed legislation to close the loophole and bar Nazi suspects from receiving benefits. US President Barack Obama signed the measure late last year.

US Representative Carolyn Maloney asked that the inspector general look into the scope of the payments after the investigation.

“This report is another reminder that we must never forget the atrocities committed by the Nazis,” Maloney said on Saturday in an e-mailed statement. “According to this report, 133 alleged and confirmed Nazis actively worked to conceal their true identities from our government and received millions of dollars in social security payments.”

The Social Security Administration last year refused to provide the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts.

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