Speier-Poochigian Armenian Genocide Recovery Law Enacted in California

SACRAMENTO–The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region welcomed the signing of "Armenian Genocide Bank and Looted Assets Recovery Act", SB 1524. The new law, co-authored by Senator Jackie Kanchelian Speier (D-San Mateo) and Senator Charles ‘Chuck’ Poochigian, allow victims and heirs recovery–through California Courts–of assets looted by banks and financial institutions operating in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey during the Armenian Genocide which have been wrongfully withheld since the Genocide. The legislation, signed into law this week by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a key priority for Senator Speier in 2006. The governor’s signing was made possible, in large part, due to her great efforts working with the State Senate and Assembly leadership to shepherd the bill through the legislature along with Senator Poochigian. "I authored this legislation on behalf of the 900,000 Armenian Americans living in our state. As a result of the Armenian Genocide, thousands of Armenian orphans and survivors were robbed of their country, their families, their ancestral homes, as well as personal property and other assets, including bank deposits," said Speier. "The time has come to return these deposits to their rightful owners." The ANCA-WR sponsored and testified in favor of the bill when it was first introduced and had closely followed its progression through both houses and onto the governor’s desk. "We anticipate the new law will encourage banks doing business in Ottoman Turkey during the Armenian Genocide to do the right thing and return those assets," noted ANCA-WR Chairman, Steven Dadaian, who testified in support of SB 1524 before the legislature when it was considered by the State Senate Judiciary Committee. "We hope that recent lawsuits filed on behalf of Armenian American Genocide heirs will reach a just resolution for the return of those assets and we applaud all members of our legislature and the Governor for taking this important precedent setting step to stand up for justice once again," said Dadaian.

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