Surprise Revelations at Genocide Claimant Hearing
$2.1 Million available for Genocide victims’ compensation
BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
LOS ANGELES—Another hearing took place in Federal Judge Christina A. Snyder’s court on Monday, June 11 in the ongoing lawsuit that has pitted against one another attorneys (Mark Geragos/Brian Kabateck vs. Vartkes Yeghiayan) who once jointly fought the French insurance company AXA to secure payment to the heirs of genocide victims who had bought life insurance policies from that company.
The most important news at this session, based on the attorneys’ presentations to the court, is that Berj Boyajian, another attorney, has deposited into his account at Pacific Western Bank 17 checks from the AXA settlement fund totaling over $312,000 that were not made out to him.
In an interview after the court hearing, Boyajian told the Glendale News Press that he deposited six checks into a trust fund — a move that was authorized by his clients. He explained that the money in the trust fund will eventually go back to his clients or their beneficiaries.
There is a desire to pursue questions arising from this revelation and the court’s authorization to compel relevant individuals to answer questions. However, the judge revealed, as required, that her husband, also an attorney, had represented Boyajian in the past. Before proceeding, she wants to be certain that she is not in a conflicted position. A telephone status conference was set for June 26 regarding this matter.
Parsegh Kartalian was deposed as had been determined at a previous hearing. He was the administrator who ran the claim evaluation and distribution process of the millions of dollars that AXA was required to pay to the rightful recipients of the insurance policies’ payouts. With respect to Boyajian, he had consulted that attorney, but stated that the latter had no authority in the distribution process.
The accounting firm that was to have been hired to audit the claims that were paid out has done much of its work. It is Holthouse, Carlin, and Van Trigt, LLP. They have found some $2.1 million payables, which the judge authorized to proceed with. According to documents filed with the court, this leaves approximately $700,000 in the settlement fund. All 13,000 claim files have been moved from Geragos’ offices to Loyola Law School, the neutral location chosen in accordance with decisions at a previous hearing.
Near the end of his remarks to the court, Roman Silberfeld, Yeghiayan’s attorney, requested confirmation from the court regarding his response to inquiries (naming one from Vram Yegparian— see disclosure below) about the status of those claimants who had been denied. He has been replying that the whole claims evaluation process is not being reopened, only discrepancies are being corrected. The judge confirmed that was the correct answer. Geragos stated that he, too, has been providing the same response to such inquiries.
The next hearing is scheduled for August 27 at 11:45. This was the fourth hearing scheduled since I last reported on this matter, with one cancelled. I have attended two of them.
In the interest of full disclosure, my family is an AXA claimant. The claim was denied. No explanation was given.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Asbarez will be doing extensive additional reporting on this matter in upcoming editions.