Most Coopera employees will continue working, feds say; depositors barred from meeting at coop headquarters

Jun 14, 2013 | 0 comments

Most of the employees of Coopera, shut down earlier this week by federal and provincial authorities, were told yesterday that their jobs are secure for the time being.

Staff of the office of Economía Popular y Solidaria (SEPS) said that every effort will be made during the liquidation process to ensure that workers will be protected. Following official announcements, employees were allowed to ask questions.

Many of the non-finanical Coopera services will reopen today, including food markets and restaurants. Originally, SEPS said they would reopen on Monday.

Meanwhile, dozens of Coopera depositors were barred from the meeting, told by SEPS and police that there was no new information about their deposits.

An update of the financial status of the coop revealed that about $4 million was withdrawn on Monday and Tuesday by depositors, double what SEPS had reported Wednesday. The amount represents about 10% of all Coopera holdings.

Depositors who gathered outside the Coopera argued with police who were guarding the door.

“I want to know that my money is safe and that I will get it back,” said Sonia Hernandez of Cuenca. “They lied to me that my account was insured. I don’t know who to trust.”

SEPS said on Thursday that almost all money will be returned to depositors but that pay-backs will not begin until July 1. Officials are currently auditing Coopera financial records.

Two Coopera officials were arrested last weekend on charges of laundering $31 million through coop accounts. The general manager was arrested on Wednesday and the cooperative was ordered closed and liquidated.

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