Government announces new phase of Coopera paybacks to begin in January

Dec 23, 2013

The government liquidator of the Cuenca financial cooperative Coopera says that a new phase of payouts to unpaid credtiors and depositors will begin in January.

Coopera was closed by the government in June following the arrest of top managers and several members of its board of directors. Charges included embezzlement and money laundering.

Coopera depositors attempt to withdraw money in June.

Coopera depositors attempt to withdraw money in June.

Diego Aguilar, Coopera liquidator, cautioned that not all depositors would be fully reimbursed and did not disclose the formula under which pay-backs would be made. In previous phases of reimbursements, the government has used a “bottom up” formula, where small account holders received preference over those with larger amounts.

Aguilar said that Cooopera assets amount to $10,252,590, including food markets and restaurants that continue to operate, and real estate. He says that Coopera has total debts of $51.7 million.

Although the government claims that it has repaid more than 99% of Coopera’s 116,000 account holders, including about 180 North Americans, attorneys representing unpaid members say that the 1% of unpaid accounts represents 60% to 70% of all money deposited in the cooperative.

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To date, the government has paid back account holders with deposits of up to $30,000 and $40,000 in some special-needs cases. “Under the government’s formula, if you had $30,000 or less in your account you got everything back. But, if you had five cents more than $30,000, you received nothing,” according to Carlos Heredia, a lawyer representing some of the unpaid account holders.

A hunger strike by five unpaid Coopera members is in its second week in Parque Calderon.

 

Photo caption: Coopera depositors attempt to withdraw money in June.

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