The Oschadbank Lviv Branch Has Robbed the Pensioners for More than UAH 1 Million
More than 50 pensioners became the victims of the Oschadbank Lviv Branch fraud. For the period of more than ten years people believed that they were depositing their money with the bank, and actually have pocketed up the speculators. The Bank does not admit the guilt and believes that it is not responsible for the actions of its employees committed on its behalf.
82-year-old pensioner Ivan Oleksiv was a long-term customer of the Oschadbank Lviv Branch and was depositing on his current and subsequently deposit accounts. Of course, all this was formalized by agreement. One day, when a man decided to withhold the money he was told that no deposit it opened.
Appeal to the police resulted in the initiation of a criminal case based on fraud that is already pending in court. The investigation established that the Head of Branch in collusion with the cashier were forging the bank deposit agreements at the workplace during working hours and used borrowed funds for their own purposes. According to the accused such financial fraud continued since 1996, but remained unnoticed until the moment, when due to the currency rates fluctuation and mass deposits outflows the Head of Branch was “caught red-handed”.
What were the Bank’s actions to protect the interests of defrauded customers? (Some of whom have died; their relatives say the reason for that was the shock from finding out that savings were gone).
Oschadbank filed a lawsuit against the affected customers. The Bank represents that it has nothing to do with its employees’ fraud, and agreements concluded by its representatives using the official seals are void. This means that people will receive none reimbursement.
According to the Strategic Litigations Fund of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union lawyer Anastasia Martynovska, if the Court takes the Bank’s side, it will create thus a dangerous precedent which would deprive people defrauded by employees-speculators of the right to seek justice and recover their money.
“In the most European countries, where a person enters into a relationship with the bank, it is exactly the bank a potential victim. In Ukraine the situation is opposite. Unfortunately, the courts often take the side of the financial institutions, but not ordinary citizens,” says Ms. Martynovska.
The Centre for Legal and Political Research “SIM” lawyer Nina Khoma, who represents the victim, believes that the way of case progress will determine the way of banks behaviour in the future in similar situations. She hopes that this case may become a guarantee in situations, when the banks, especially the state ones, will not be able to walk off their employees’ actions and their liability for acts committed by their officials on behalf of the bank. After all, the most of the Oschadbank customers represent the socially vulnerable groups.
The human rights defenders recommend contacting the Bank Head Office with a request as to whether you have an opened deposit account with the bank in order to ensure you haven’t been burned. We encourage all persons, who have deposit accounts opened with the Oschadbank, especially Lviv Branches, to do so.
Press conference organizer is the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. The event is held under support of the UNO Development Program in Ukraine.
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