therefore, subject to strict interpretation- says that its provisions apply only to those persons
who meet all of the following requirements: a) they are depositors in the Banco de Montevideo
or the Banco La Caja Obrera; b) their deposits were transferred to other institutions; and, c)
the foregoing was done without their consent. According to the petitioners, the group of
depositors that they represent deposited their savings in the former Banco de Montevideo and
the savings were transferred without their consent to another institution in the same business
group (Peirano group) called TCB, which had its offices offshore and was not authorized to
receive deposits from the public in Uruguay.
13. The petitioners say that the last domestic remedy available to them was to take their case
to the legislative branch to seek recognition of their rights. Thus, the depositors pressed for
the enactment of a bill that would grant them the rights conferred by the Central Bank of
Uruguay in Article 31 of Law 17.613. The petitioners assert that despite the fact that the bill
was approved at its first debate, it was ultimately thrown out by the Chamber of Deputies on
May 4, 2004.
14. The petitioners say that the Central Bank of Uruguay, the Ministry of Economy and Finance
and the Executive and Legislative Branches not only violated the depositors’ right to property
through direct acts, but also failed to ensure the full exercise of the right to property of the
depositors by preventing them from receiving reparations for the violations committed by the
Banco de Montevideo owned by the Peirano family business group, which perpetrated an
identical type of fraud against Uruguayan depositors in 1972. According to the petitioners, the
ineffectiveness and complicit passiveness of the authorities with respect to the Banco de
Montevideo depositors, whose savings were transferred offshore without their consent, caused
them multiple violations of human rights, in particular as regards the rights to property, equal
protection, and life, to their detriment, injury, and impairment.
B.

Position of the State

15. The State requested that the petition be declared inadmissible because “the remedies under
domestic jurisdiction have not been exhausted, either in administrative or civil proceedings.” The
State also argued that it bore no responsibility whatever for the acts described and that its
administrative, legislative, and judicial authorities adopted the appropriate legal measures to
resolve the situation and settle the petitions presented by the investors, for which reason the
alleged violations did not occur.
16. The State pointed out that the following preliminary questions were worthy of
consideration:
a) The signatories of the petition (...) are investors in certificates of deposit issued by a
bank incorporated and headquartered in the Cayman Islands called the Trade &
Commerce Bank, which is not under the supervision or control of the Central Bank of
Uruguay.6
b) Said certificates of deposit were one of several types of investment offered by the
Banco de Montevideo S.A.
c) Said investment was made at the client's responsibility and risk.

6

The petitioners responded, “We are not investors, but depositors of Banco de Montevideo.” Our savings were
transferred without our consent and knowledge to TCB (which never existed and never had authority to receive
deposits from the public in our country).” The Judge of the Eighth Court of First Instance, which ordered the
imprisonment pending trial of four former managers of Banco de Montevideo, said, “TCB never existed since it was a
legal fiction and the instrument to propitiate the fraud. Its books were kept in a secret office in the Montevideo Free
Trade Zone and it did not have a physical presence until September 2001.”
4

Select target paragraph3