Armenians to share $17m payout for Ottoman massacre

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Descendants of some of the 1.5 million Armenians killed during the collapse of Ottoman rule in 1915 will share a $17m (£9.7m) payout after a settlement with the French insurance giant AXA. The relatives lodged their legal case in California, home to one of the world's largest Armenian communities, claiming for life insurance benefits that were never paid. The settlement is likely to be approved in November in the US District Court in California.

The California settlement will be administered in France, which also has many expatriate Armenian communities and which was one of the first countries to recognise the murders as genocide. AXA's headquarters are in France and the company operates in the US through subsidiaries.

Under the settlement, AXA agreed to donate several million dollars to various France-based Armenian charities. It will also contribute $11m toward a fund to pay valid claims of heirs of policyholders with AXA Group subsidiaries that did business in the Turkish Ottoman Empire before 1915.

The AXA case was the second lawsuit of its kind to be settled in US courts, although the United States, along with Turkey, does not officially recognise the deaths as genocide. In February, New York Life agreed to pay $20m to descendants of its Armenian policyholders killed in 1915.

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