HC Deb 22 December 1916 vol 88 cc1831-2W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which member of the Government is responsible for winding up enemy businesses in this country; and if the winding-up of the enemy banks is still under his direction?


The President of the Board of Trade is responsible for the winding-up of enemy businesses under the Trading With the Enemy Acts. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.


asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether the public custodian has power under the Act of Parliament or Orders in Council to fix a time within which claims against enemy companies must be delivered; and, if not, whether he will take steps to obtain the necessary powers to enable the public custodian to fix a limited time, so as to facilitate the distribution of the funds in his custody as promptly as possible among the British subjects to whom they may be due?


The payment of British creditors out of the enemy assets is dealt with under the directions of the Court by the custodian, who informs me that he is now taking up the question of fixing a time limit for the delivery of claims. If it appears that any further powers are desirable the necessary steps will be taken.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that Messrs. Leon Menasche, Vitali Menasche, and Gaston Menasche, trading as Leon Menasche and Company, are alien enemies, being subjects of Turkey, and as such were interned in the month of August, 1015; was permission given to these persons, or either of them, subsequent to their internment or at any time since the outbreak of war to deal with £130,000 worth of Belgian acceptances and to make payments to creditors in Amsterdam of enemy origin, including the Banque Generale Beige, in possession of and under the control of the German authorities; whether he is aware that by such transactions these alien enemies have been enabled to make a profit of approximately £50,000; what was the reason for granting this permission; and whether the Department satisfied itself that the transactions could not be carried out by a British firm and the profit be made subject to payment of British Income Tax?


I have made inquiry and have not yet been able to trace the full facts in this case. I will communicate again with my hon. and learned Friend when the investigation is complete.