Debtors of Getback welcome new legislation to help fraud victims

Getback Debtors consider new legislation allowing asset seizure in criminal cases a great step forward in consumer protection.

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The association of Getback bondholding victims, who are trying to retrieve some of their money from the troubled Getback debt collecting company, welcomed new draft legislation on asset seizure in a letter published on wPolityce website on Thursday.

Without the proposed legislation, the association’s chairman Artiom Bujan wrote, consumers who are the victims of crimes have little or no chance of recouping assets from the perpetrators.

Getback, which was suspended from trading on the Warsaw Stock Market last year after providing investors with dubious information, was then hit with allegations of fraud and misselling. The company, which is negotiating the sale of its portfolio of debt to a financial investor, has left an array of bond holders, shareholders and small investors with the prospect of losing some or all of their money. The Getback chairman, as well as several members of the board are being held on fraud charges, as are some associates of the company.

Misselling risky bonds as a safe investment

In an interview with wPolityce last year, the author of the letter,Mr Bujan described how his mother was allegedly missold an investment of her savings of PLN 12,000 (EUR 2,500) in Getback by a salesperson at Lyons Bank, who told her it was a “safe investment, like a savings deposit.” It was only a few months later that she received shares certificates for the hapless company that she was even aware that she was not simply putting her money in a deposit account.

Similar legislation in other countries

The Legislation has been criticised by some observers as an encroachment on civil liberties. Similar legislation exists in several European countries, including the UK, as well as in the US. It would mean that assets of those deemed to have committed crimes could be seized.

Mr Bujan, whose Facebook group has 3000 followers, estimates that 9,000 individuals have lost savings of PLN 3 bn (EUR 670 mln) in Getback.