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AJCONGRESS SUES DEP'T. OF COMMERCE: SEEKS RECORDS RELATING TO COMPLIANCE WITH ARAB BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL BY U.S. COMPANY

 AJCONGRESS SUES DEP'T. OF COMMERCE: SEEKS RECORDS RELATING
 TO COMPLIANCE WITH ARAB BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL BY U.S. COMPANY
 NEW YORK, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Jewish Congress, a 50,000-member national organization of American Jews, has filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the Commerce Department of the United States seeking to compel the federal agency to produce "improperly withheld" documents relating to Baxter International, Inc.'s ("Baxter") alleged compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel.
 Baxter, a multi-billion dollar corporation involved in hospital and health care, is under criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago on charges that it violated U.S. anti-boycott laws. In 1988 Baxter sold its Israeli plant and agreed with Syrian generals to build a medical facility for the army. It is alleged that Baxter took these steps to enable it to get off the Arab boycott list. Subsequently, Baxter announced it was canceling its agreement with Syria.
 According to Will Maslow, AJCongress' General Counsel and the editor of its newsletter "Boycott Report," "as far back as Feb. 11, 1992 AJCongress contacted the Office of Antiboycott Compliance of the Department of Commerce seeking 'any and all' documents concerning Baxter's alleged compliance with the Arab boycott." He noted that the Jewish organization was "particularly" interested in a report prepared by Baxter's special counsel that investigated boycott charges against the company filed by a former Baxter executive."
 "In May," Mr. Maslow noted, "AJCongress' final appeal within the Department of Commerce was denied, and so we were left with no alternative but to file suit in federal court to obtain these documents." The AJCongress leader added that the organization was "convinced of its statutory right under the FOIA to obtain these records, and that the Commerce Department has not established any proper legal basis for withholding them."
 The Complaint was submitted on behalf of AJCongress by Joel Levy and Allan R. Adler, both of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Cohn and Marks.
 -0- 9/23/92
 /CONTACT: Craig Sumberg of AJCongress, 212-360-1540/ CO: American Jewish Congress ST: New York IN: SU:


AH -- NY061 -- 2679 09/23/92 13:14 EDT
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Date:Sep 23, 1992
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