LOS ANGELES–Over 600 members of the Armenian community participated in a press conference and rally outside the Downtown Los Angeles offices of Deutsche Bank last Friday–as descendants of Armenian genocide victims filed a class action lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank for failing to return money and assets belonging to them.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Mark Geragos–Brian Kabatack–and Vartkes Yeghiayan–who recently settled similar lawsuits against New York Life and AXA for $37.5 million for wrongfully withholding insurance policy proceeds since the Armenian genocide.
In the new case–the same lawyers represent the heirs of Armenia’s who perished during the Armenian genocide against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank. The lawsuit states that these German banks systematically thwarted the recovery of millions of dollars in assets deposited by Armenia’s prior to the 1915 genocide. In addition–the lawsuit seeks damages for looted Armenian assets forcibly taken by the Ottoman Turkish government during the Armenian genocide. Deutsche Bank funded the Ottoman Turkish government’s mass genocide of Armenia’s in return for these looted Armenian assets.
"Every single lawyer on this case is of Armenian descent and has ancestors who perished in the Genocide," said Brian Kabatack–one of the attorneys filing the class action lawsuit. "We are not going to settle for less than full restitution."
Kabateck said that he hopes this lawsuit will not only recover money and assets belonging to the plaintiffs–but that it will also bring international attention to the issue of Genocide recognition.
Among the hundreds of Armenian Americans from the greater Los Angeles area who attended the press conference and protested the German banks were a large number of professionals working in downtown Los Angeles and students from area universities and local Armenian high schools.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) supported and took part in Friday’s press conference and rally as members of the United Human Rights Council led the protest.
"Today–we ask simply for what is owed–what has been owed for nearly a century," stated Raffi Hamparian–board member of the ANCA-WR. "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."