Genocide Claims Case Gets Muddier


AXA Insurance

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

LOS ANGELES—The inter-attorney squabble between lawyers once fighting insurance companies together to secure payment to the heirs of genocide victims who had bought life insurance policies from the French AXA Insurance Company continued, as one of the attorneys, Brian Kabateck, filed a motion on December 31 asking the US District Court to launch an investigation into alleged misappropriation of Genocide survivor claim funds by another attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan.

In response, Yeghiyan filed a motion opposing Kabateck’s claims throwing the matter further into he said-he said territory.

Kabateck, who along with Mark Geragos and Yegiayan were once co-counsel in the pursuit of payments to the heirs of Genocide victims from insurance companies, was one of the plaintiffs in a law suit filed against Yeghiayan in March, 2011 for alleged misappropriation of funds.

The Kabateck motion, according to court records obtained by Asbarez, alleges that Yeghiayan “created charities for the purpose of funneling” funds allocated by the class action settlement for charities, known as cy pres, “to himself, his family, his law firm and other personal and business associates.”

Kabateck of the Kabatech, Brown Kellner LLP, along with Gergos filed the March 11 lawsuit. The current motion calls for a stay of the suit pending the proposed Yeghiayan investigation.

The December 31 motion says that counsel has “determined that a t least five charities may well have been established by Mr. Yeghiayan to launder money [$1 million] from the class settlements” earmarked to be used by “legitimate charitable organizations to assist the Armenian community.”

Kabateck’s motion says: “It appears that Mr. Yeghiayan created five of the nominated charities for the sole purpose of receiving settlement funds for their own personal and business use. He operated several of these charities out of Mr. Yeghiayan’s law office in Glendale, and one of these supposed ‘charities’ is a private foreign bank account. There is very little evidence that these charities have engaged in any charitable activity whatsoever, other than to issue press releases that publicize Mr. Yeghiayan’s lawsuits and speaking engagements and to sell his books and other publications.”

The Kabateck motion cites a series of examples ranging from allegations of using funds earmarked for Armenian charitable organizations to pay for college tuition to paying consultants and others to carry out projects that benefitted Yeghiayan.

In his opposition motion Yeghiayan says Kabateck’s actions are without merit, citing several legal precedents that he seeks to use to disprove the initial motion.

“Kabateck’s lawsuit against Yeghiayan, Mahdessian, and the charities was filed in March, 2011. Since then, it has hung like a sword of Damocles over all of them while the Court and counsel have focused on recovering money improperly distributed and handled,” said the official opposition motion filed by Yeghiayan attorney Roman Silberfeld of the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi and obtained by Asbarez from Yeghiayan’s law firm.

“Mr. Yeghiayan vehemently denies the allegations that he may have established ‘at least five sham charities to launder money from the class settlements,’” says the opposition motion.

A hearing on this motion is set for January 28 at US District Court..

Regardless of the outcome of the hearing, this ongoing squabble between the attorneys who deemed themselves worthy of representing the interests of Genocide survivor heirs is, to say the least, muddying the just case for reparations to Genocide victims and has already shaken the trust of the Armenian people.It is critical that this issue advance transparently.

Asbarez will continue reporting on this developing story.

12 Responses

for “Genocide Claims Case Gets Muddier”

  1. PAUL BARDIZBANIAN says:

    BETTER YOUR EYE COMES OUT THAN YOUR NAME COMES OUT BADLY….A LOT OF BLIND LAWYERS SOON TO BE FOUND. SAD COMMENTARY OF LEGAL EAGLES WHO ARE BLIND AS BATS. THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF AND THEY SHOULD RESOLVE THE ISSUES WITH BINDING ARBITRATION IF THEY VALUE THEIR NAMES AND THE LIVES THEY REPRESENT.

    • I remember somebody recently proposed on one of the forums here to bring the Diaspora lawyers to fix the problem with the “thugs” in Armenian government…

      Yeh, right. Clowns and embezzlers will go teach Armenian war veterans how to run a country they defended. Brilliant idea!!

  2. PAUL BARDIZBANIAN says:

    HERE’S MUD IN THEIR EYES!!!!!

  3. Arthur says:

    Asbarez , keep up your good work. I hope this story isn’t true.

  4. anush says:

    I agree with the conclusion of the article and and its claim of the ongoing squabble between attorneys muddying the case for reparations for Genocide victims.This is true.With this said ,the important thing to remember is that it does not further justice to repeat slanderous accusations made by one attorney to another.
    It is also important to report accurately.Yeghiayan is the only attorney who requests an investigation of ALL the distributions and expenses claimed by ALL counsel and settlement board administrators.He was the only attorney to contest the destruction of the files and closing of the accounts.He was the only attorney who asked the re-examination of all the claim files to complete the job of fair distribution.
    According to the Court file(Yeghiayan Opposition ) his efforts have resulted in:the discovery of $3million previously unaccounted for ,the return of $600,000 misappropriated by Berj Boyajian,the distribution of thousands of dollars to claimants entitled to money but not previously paid due to errors of the settlement administrator and the prevention of Kabateck’s further destruction of claim files.None of this could have been possible without Yeghiayan’s efforts.
    It is certainly sad that Armenian lawyers and Armenians in general pick fights amongst themselves instead of being on the same page and fighting the common enemy.It is sad that they find a scapegoat for their personal benefit.As long as we do this we shall never have justice.

  5. melvin polatnick says:

    Genocide is wrong and evil, but it has not stopped those responsible for murdering millions of Armenians, Bosnian, Croatian`s, Chechnya’s, Jews and Russian farmers. Dreams of exterminating hated populations still exist in the minds of ordinary people, but Genocide is wrong and evil and it must continue to be outlawed.

  6. Daniel says:

    Who the hell gave the right these scumbags to represent Armenians in such a lawsuit?

  7. Alex Postallian says:

    Why is it when the shysters get involved,its always self-defeating,the rightful parties get Zero,or almost after their cut.No wonder people have little or no respect for them.Then again,they can go into politics,where they can exercise their wily ways,and usually do.

  8. Assimilated Armenian says:

    Something fishy has been going on with these cases from day one. When are these attorneys going to release all the records, as promised, showing all the policies, including those paid in full shortly after the Genocide, those “negotiated” for a smaller settlement due to lack of documentation, as well as those included in the recent settlements? Were back room deals been made between some of the attorneys and the insurance companies?

  9. hagop hagopian says:

    these people who play these games need to be tied to a pole and shot by a firing squad .

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