These days, more than a dozen people from Artsakh received information from Converse Bank that the gold they pledged in the bank was lost. The information provided by the bank to the citizens who pledged the gold is conflicting: some were told that it was lost, while others were told that “the Turks stole it”.

Karine Avetisyan (name has been changed at her request – edit.) pledged her and her friend’s 21 pieces of gold in Converse Bank in August 2020 in order to furnish the house bought in Artsakh in 2019 after renovation. However, the 44-Day War that started in September changed Karine’s plans: she was displaced to Yerevan and spent the 1.5 million drams taken as a gold pledge for daily needs. She rented a house for 8 people and lived on that amount throughout the war. After the end of the war, they returned to Artsakh and, as it was announced, there was no requirement to pay the interest amount of the pledged gold. After confirmation of it, they started making small payments for the principal amount.

They did not have time to reorganise when the blockade and then the forced displacement began.

“The black days of September 2023 came, and the migration started. We heard that the banks are distributing the gold. I thought at least I would take that gold, sell it and survive until we get jobs. On September 25, we went to Converse Bank. There was an huge queue; the people were nervous, in anticipation, and we could hear the sounds of gunshots from the other side. People gathered their clothes in panic and came after their gold. But the bank employees collected everyone’s passports and told us to wait, they would call us and give the gold one by one. They called the name of someone and gave it, and said to another that they have sent their gold to Yerevan, to go and get it there. They told me to go and be sure that my gold is in a secure place,” Karine Avetisyan presents to

A few days after the forced deportation to Armenia, in the midst of uncertainty and hard feelings, Karine visits the bank’s head office in Yerevan, where they once again give hope that the gold is in safe hands, she has to wait for her turn and will receive it in a month. During the next visit, Karine is assured that they are conducting an inventory and will call her in a week.

“They called me. I went, they took me to an office, two guys were sitting there and very politely told me: ‘Madam, your gold is lost.’ To my questions about how and where, they answered, ‘We don’t know, maybe the Turks or the custom people stole it’,” says the woman.

Karine pledged 21 pieces of gold with a total weight of 120 grams in the bank. She says that some of them were with diamond stones, among them the relatively high value ones, which were ancient pieces, she took from her girlfriend. The bank estimated the total pledged gold at 1.5 million drams [about $3700].

During the conversations with the bank employees, Karine tries to get an explanation: why did they delay for so long, why did they initially give hope that it would not be lost and assured them that they would receive the product in full in Yerevan. However, in response to these questions, the representative of Converse Bank responded: ‘I don’t understand: you have left so many things [in NK], why are you not demanding them, but you are demanding a few grams of gold? Go claim your houses too.’ I said, boy, do you understand what it means to lose everything and live with the hope that at least that gold is there, and it is at least something?”

The bank offers the woman to take 1.5 million drams as compensation. However, according to Avetisyan, she needs the gold. He is sure that if she sells them, she will get more money than what the bank offers. “Besides, there was my friend’s gold among them; they were ancient pieces and they were expensive. How can I tell my friend that I am giving the money, your jewelry is lost?” Karine says.

More than a dozen Artsakh residents are facing this problem and express their concerns on social networks. “I went to get the gold, they said it was lost, they gave me compensation for the gold. At that time, they gave me 235 thousand in gold, now they have compensated me with 257 thousand,” wrote one of Artsakh residents.

Some expressed their fear that the gold had reached a safe place from Artsakh, but in Yerevan they decided to “deceive the people of Artsakh” by saying that their gold was lost.

P.S. sent a written request to the administration of Converse Bank to get a comment on the situation. We will publish their explanation as soon as we receive it.

Hasmik Hambardzumyan

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