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Tower of Basel by Adam LeBor

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CHAPTER FIVE

AN AUTHORIZED PLUNDER

          “The Bank for International Settlements is the bank which sanctions the most notorious outrage of this generation—the rape of Czechoslovakia.”

           — George Strauss, Labor MP, speaking in the House of Commons, May 19391

When Nazi Germany annexed the Czechoslovak border province of the Sudetenland in September 1938, it immediately absorbed a good part of the country’s banking system as well as most of Czechoslovakia’s strategic defenses. By then the country’s national bank had prudently transferred most of its gold abroad to two accounts at the Bank of England: one in the name of the BIS, and one in the name of the National Bank of Czechoslovakia itself. (Countries had deposited some of their ...

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