Diego Aguilar, appointed by the Ecuadorian government to liquidate Coopera, says that most large investors in the failed Cuenca financial cooperative have “little chance” of recovering their money.
Aguilar says that there are only a few properties, including the Coopera headquarters building, remaining to be sold and that fourth phase of payouts to coop members depend on assets from those sales. He also said that individuals members, who number about 70, will receive priority over corporate and union account holders, representing about 170 accounts, when payouts are made.
Aguilar said he does not know when the fourth and final round of payouts will be made.
Like other group account holders, the Santa Isabel Union of Professional Drivers questions the government’s formular for repayment as well as the availability of funds. The union had $470,000 deposited in Coopera at the time it was closed last April and union president Pedro Alvarez says he is not satisfied that the government’s explanation of the situation. “We expect to get our money back, with interest, and will take legal action if necessary to get it,” he said.
Aguilar says that 99.78% of the more than 130,000 Coopera members have recovered their deposits, with more than $46 million paid back in total. Attorneys for those who have not been reimbursed say that the outstanding accounts total more than $30 million.
On Friday, top Coopera management and three board of directors members are scheduled to appear in court to hear charges read against them. Charges include embezzlement and money laundering.
Photo caption: Police in front of a Coopera office in April 2013. The building is one of the cooperative assets sold to pay back members.