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Armenian Genocide Survivors File New Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit

January, 2004

GLENDALE - Descendants of the 1915 Armenian Genocide filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Victoria Insurance Company, the attorney for the plaintiffs announced last week in Glendale.

The federal class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, as Movsesian v. Victoria Versicherung AG, nearly 90 years after the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide, to recover life insurance benefits that were wrongfully withheld. Victoria Insurance Company is the 10th insurance company sued on behalf of victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Vartkes Yeghiayan and his law firm, Yeghiayan & Associates, of Glendale, are the attorneys representing the descendants of the victims in this and the other class action cases, including Marootian v. New York Life Insurance Company and Kyurkjian v. Axa, et al. In this federal class action lawsuit, Vazken Movsesian and four other named plaintiffs are suing on behalf of all Armenians who owned Victoria Life Insurance policies, who were massacred in the Armenian Genocide, and whose beneficiaries were never paid the insurance benefits.

Between 1915 and 1922, approximately two million Armenians perished as a result of the genocidal policies of the Turkish government. Among the victims were the owners of life insurance policies issued by Victoria Insurance. Victoria Insurance never paid any life insurance benefits to any victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Despite repeated claims, Victoria Insurance refused to pay the proceeds which are due under the policies. Even as late as 2003, Victoria Insurance has acted to delay and confuse the beneficiaries and heirs.

In this lawsuit, Movsesian is asking the federal court for an order requiring Victoria Insurance to identify the insurance benefits which belong to Armenians, to identify the rightful heirs, and to pay the benefits to them.

Movsesian is represented by Yeghiayan, an expert on the legal aspects of the Armenian Genocide who began work on the Armenian Genocide cases in 1970.

Yeghiayan explained the reason for filing the lawsuit against Victoria Insurance, "For almost 90 years, Victoria Insurance has been holding millions of dollars which belongs to the heirs of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. No organization should be allowed to profit from genocide, but until now Victoria has had no incentive to identify the rightful heirs and return the money to them. With this federal lawsuit, we intend to give them an incentive and to bring justice for the victims of the Armenian Genocide."