Descendants of Armenian Genocide Victims Look to Sue Deutsche Bank

Leading German bank refused to hand over deposited funds to Armenia’s after the Genocide; avoided providing depositor lists that would have provided potentially life saving funds to victims

LOS ANGELES (AFP)–Descendants of victims of the Armenian genocide have filed suit in the United States against Germany’s Deutsche Bank to claim deposits left by the dead–AFP reported Wednesday–quoting the lawyers working on the case.

"Deutsche Bank took the money and has kept the money for 90 years," attorney Mark Geragos told reporters.

The attorneys said they were also filing suit against Turkey for restitution of assets. Turkey has consistently denied its responsibility for the 1915 genocide.

Attorney Brian Kabateck said the lawyers had filed suit three months ago against Deutsche Bank–Germany’s leading commercial bank. "They were operating in the Ottoman Empire with headquarters in Constantinople before the Genocide."

"Requests for restitution were made after the Genocide to Deutsche Bank but it refused," said Geragos. "Armenia’s deposited their money in that bank and they never turned over any of the money."

"Even small deposits would have made a difference for people who had no homes–who were thrown out of their villages and needed to start a new life," said Kabateck.

"Deutsche Bank could have made lists available to refugee centers–to widows–to orphans–but didn’t," said Kabateck. "Deutsche Bank and others were asked repeatedly to provide lists."

Asked why Deutsche Bank was being singled out–Geragos said: "Deutsche Bank is the first of many. Part of what we’re doing is archival research. As we find the documen’s–then we assemble those in order to put together a law suit–so that we’ve got irrefutable proof before we file a law suit. For Deutsche Bank–we think we have them."

Noting that Germany had a very close relationship with its World War I ally Turkey–Kabateck said the lawyers had also filed a law suit against the German insurance company Victoria.

"The law suit is stalled because the German government won’t release what’s called the ‘service of process.’ Because under the law–you have to serve a company in Germany and then they have to come to the United States to respond. And the German government has intervened," he explained.

"They have to be formally served through legal channels," said Geragos. "But the problem is that the German government has set up obstacles to the ‘service of process’ of that company."

"So we’ve filed a class action that has not technically been served… we would like to know why Berlin thinks it’s not appropriate," Geragos said. "We’re investigating options in terms of retrieving what is rightfully Armenian from the government of Turkey."

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