Law firm drops Holocaust suit against IBM

The firm had announced the lawsuit in February, charging that IBM "aided and abetted crimes against humanity" by providing the punch-card systems, called Hollerith machines, used to catalogue and process victims of the Nazi concentration camps. By dropping the suit, the firm seeks to speed payment of compensation to millions of victims of the Nazis, lead plaintiffs' attorney Michael Hausfeld said in the statement.

German businesses have paid 5 billion marks ($4.3 billion) to the Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future Foundation, a fund to compensate former forced laborers. The German Federal Government will match this sum -- but payments won't be made until the businesses are assured of immunity from future lawsuits, and have been delayed for many months by ongoing cases filed in US courts.

Even though the foundation plan does not cover lawsuits against US parent companies like IBM, Hausfeld said the plaintiffs are dropping the suit "in order to eliminate any obstacles German industry believes would hinder such payments to victims of the Holocaust."

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