Armenian-Americans Call on Deutsche Bank to Return Stolen Armenian Genocide-Era Assets

WASHINGTON–Armenian Americans from all fifty states are calling on Deutsche Bank, the Germany-based financial giant, to stop obstructing the return of stolen Armenian Genocide-era assets, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. The grassroots campaign is fueled by citizens throughout the country troubled that Deutsche Bank continues to block the rightful return of assets belonging to heirs of Armenia’s killed in the Armenian Genocide, despite the good faith efforts toward a settlement by lawyers for a group of Armenian Americans who have filed a class action lawsuit against the firm. Taking advantage of the free ANCA WebFax feature on the ANCA website–www.anca.org–community activists are sending letters directly to Dr. Josef Ackermann, the Chairman of Deutsche Bank. The WebFax letter allows concerned individuals to call on Dr. Ackermann to "personally ensure that Deutsche Bank fully lives up to its legal, financial, and moral obligations by returning all assets your firm unlawfully holds from the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923." The letter goes on to criticize the firm’s current conduct, noting that, "compounding your firm’s guilt in this matter has been its illegal and immoral conduct in the years following the Armenian Genocide. Rather than taking steps to return stolen property, Deutsche Bank actively avoided meeting its responsibilities through acts of evasion and concealment, as well as other measures intended to prevent these funds from being recovered by survivors and the heirs of victims. Now, having profited from the use of these funds over the course of the last nine decades, your firm is today actively obstructing efforts to secure their rightful return." Individuals can send a free ANCA WebFax to Deutsche Bank by visiting: http://capwiz.com/anca/issues/alert/?alertid=9194726&type=CU Deutsche Bank has more than $1.32 trillion in assets and over 67,000 employees operating in nearly 1,600 branches across 73 countries. Experts estimate that Deutsche Bank illegally withheld more than $20,000,000, in World War I-era dollars, from Armenian victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. A class action lawsuit against the firm to secure the return of these assets has been filed by attorneys Mark Geragos, Brian Kabatack, and Vartkes Yeghiayan. The lawsuit states that the Deutsche Bank systematically thwarted the recovery of millions of dollars in assets deposited by Armenia’s prior to and during the Armenian Genocide. In addition, the lawsuit seeks damages for Armenian assets forcibly taken by the Ottoman Turkish government during the Armenian Genocide. The same three lawyers recently settled similar lawsuits against New York Life and AXA for a total of $37.5 million for the wrongful withholding of insurance policy proceeds held from the Armenian Genocide era. Earlier this month the ANCA’s European affiliate, the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, launched a continent-wide campaign to urge Deutsche Bank to honor its commitmen’s. In January of 2006, the ANCA-Western Region helped organize a rally in support of a press conference outside the Los Angeles offices of Deutsche Bank announcing the filing of the class action lawsuit against both bank. Speaking at the rally, ANCA Board member Raffi Hamparian called on Deutsche Bank "to return the money it eagerly accepted but then so heartlessly withheld from the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Withheld–from the wounded, the destitute and desperate–exactly when they needed access to these funds the most. Today, we ask simply for what is owed, what has been owed for nearly a century. We know that the time has long-since passed when Deutsche Bank can make its depositors whole. That time has passed. No one today can wipe away the blood, the tears, the sweat of endless desert marches, mass executions, and starvation. But we can, today, secure a measure of justice, and that is why we are here. Justice: A small measure today–from a bank. A greater measure tomorrow–from the Turkish government. The full measure–soon–of the justice owed the Armenian nation."

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