LOS ANGELES, CA — The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) today lent its support and took part in a press conference and rally outside the Los Angeles offices of Deutsche Bank announcing a class action lawsuit against both Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank for wrongfully withholding money and assets belonging to heirs of Armenians who perished during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
The suit was filed today by attorneys Mark Geragos, Brian Kabatack, and Vartkes Yeghiayan. Over 600 members of the Armenian American community were on hand during the press conference to support the filing of the suit and to protest the banks’ wrongful actions.
“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.”
Geragos, Kabatack, and Yeghiayan recently settled similar lawsuits against New York Life and AXA for $37.5 million for the wrongful withholding of insurance policy proceeds held from the Armenian Genocide era. In today’s filing of court papers, the same lawyers represent the heirs of Armenians 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 Armenians 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 Armenians 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.”
Leading the protest in chanting were members of the United Human Rights Council. 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.
“This brings memories back, stories of my aunt and uncle being slaughtered, my dad ending up begging on the streets,” said Katia Kermoyan, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The ANCA is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo 1 caption: From left to right – Attorney Mark Geragos, Armenian National Committee of America Board Member Raffi Hamparian, and attorney Brian Kabatack.
Photo 2 caption: Protesters at Deutsche Bank offices in Los Angeles.
We are brought together today in calling upon Deutsche Bank to make good on its debt. To honor its obligation.
To return the funds 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 them 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 starvations.
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.
And so, in closing, let me say that today is not about lawsuits, or lawyers, or banks.
Today is about justice.
The justice long-denied the Armenian nation.
The justice that we – together – will secure for our future.