VEB Depositors Turn to ECHR ({{commentsTotal}})

Holders of certificates in the VEB Fund, set up by Estonia years ago as a stopgap solution for depositors with funds frozen in the Soviet-era Vneshekonombank, say they want the European Court of Human Rights to resolve their 300 million euro action.

Sworn advocate Indrek Leppik said that Estonia has two mutually exclusive court decisions in force on the VEB Fund, which occasioned the appeal to the ECHR, Äripäev reported. 

The Tallinn District Court decided that the state is responsible and must allocate compensation following the liquidation of the VEB Fund with the shares effectively worth nothing. But the Supreme Court en banc found that the state is not liable.

Leppik said the certificate holders feel that the Supreme Court was not impartial, as the chief justice at the time was former top Reform Party politician Märt Rask, who was closely connected to top financial officials in the 1990s. 

After the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia ruled that only resident companies could get back the amounts in Vneshekonombank. According to a paper trail, in 1995 the Bank of Estonia prepared a document falsely stating that a now-defunct Russian-based company had close to 30 million euros in the bank. The document was approved by top bank leaders but no crime was proved.  

About a year ago, an audit conducted by the Bank of Estonia found that an impropriety had been committed by then officials, and current governor Ardo Hansson issued an apology.