Michael Hausfeld said he hoped to begin civil proceedings in 60 to 90 days, seeking damages from companies including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Shell and BP.
Victims say such companies helped prop up South Africa’s apartheid regime by doing business with them. A federal appeals court in New York on Friday said the class action suits could go ahead, overturning an earlier ruling from 2002.
The suit is to be brought by some 91 victims of human rights abuses during the apartheid regime, which ended in 1994 with all-race elections that brought Nelson Mandela to power.
Hausfeld said he represents another 20,000 to 40,000 South Africans who were tortured and mistreated, or had family members that were tortured or killed. He would not say how much compensation the victims will be seeking, but denied media reports that they were after hundreds of billions of dollars.