Bank of Canada probes reported link with Nazi gold

MONTREAL — The Bank of Canada has responded to demands from Jewish groups to launch an investigation into allegations that it laundered gold looted by the Nazis.

The demands came in response to a U.S. intelligence document released last week indicating that the central banks of Switzerland and Portugal may have used the Bank of Canada to exchange and transfer looted gold that they had purchased from the German central bank.

Purchases of Nazi gold by Switzerland and Portugal, both seen as neutral during the war, have been well-documented. But there have been recent indications that the Allied nations may have played a part in laundering those purchases.

The U.S. document released last week said Portugal used the Swiss central bank to exchange 20 tons of Nazi gold for untainted gold held in the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Switzerland has denied that it helped launder looted gold for Portugal during World War II.

The document prompted the Canadian Jewish Congress to write a letter to the Bank of Canada demanding an investigation.

B'nai B'rith Canada sent a similar letter to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

The governor of the Bank of Canada, Gordon Thiessen, wrote the CJC promising an immediate investigation.