Dear Sir, Madam,My mother died intestate (without leaving a will) in France in Dec 2010.More than 12 months later, I got copies from her bank in Suisseclaiming that she had instructed the bank in a typed letter dated 12/12/2010 to close her account and to transfer the remaining funds (only 40000 euros) to my sister’s account.This was very uncharacteristic of my mother (to want my sister to get anything at all) and I question her state of mind at the time of the alleged signing of the instructions to the bank as she was on her deathbed under strong medication and could not have had mental nor physical capacity to give nor sign such instructions. She died on 18/12/2010.The bank has released a photocopy of the claimed signed instructions dated 12/12/2010. I had this examined by a reputable graphology expert in the UK who is of the view that the 12/12/2010 signature in the photocopy is likely to be fake, as compared to what is believed to be genuine signatures of mother but that original copy is required in order to be more conclusive.My question is: does the bank have the right to refuse releasing the requested original copy dated 12/12/2010 as they claim to be bound under retention laws. I don’t even want to keep the original, just to have it forensically examined. Surely, if fraud is suspected then they should release originals?!If they still refuse, what are my options, apart from getting expensive Suisse lawyers on the case, which I cannot afford!And finally, I personally think the bank should have taken further authentification steps in confirming and validating such instructions. They say they only compared the allaged signature against their own records and closed account and transferred all to my sister’s account.Many thanks,KAB
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I am sorry to be disappointing but based on the information above, if the bank refuses to cooperate, your only line of action will be to sue them. Before taking such an action, one would suggest you take this matter to the Swiss banking ombudsman. www.bankingombudsman.ch
Thank you Sir,I understand what you say and will approach the ombudsman first.Isnt the bank obliged to provide original copies under such circumstances? If they are obliged then I will put pressure on them.Sincerely, Kamran
Under banking regulations the original must remain in their possession but they should allow on-site access to it to your expert and I guess the ombudsman will push them in this direction. They will release it only with a court order, which means taking the case to justice.
8 years as a Senior judge at Paris Conseil de Prud'hommes (Paris Industrial Tribunal)
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