The Supreme Court upheld the conclusion that banks conducted unfair practices (Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/PIXSELL) The Supreme Court upheld the conclusion that banks conducted unfair practices (Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/PIXSELL)

The court upheld on Tuesday a lower court ruling that found that all eight Croatian banks named in the lawsuit were found guilty of unfair practices. The long awaited ruling in the Swiss franc loans case, draws the legal conclusion that banks, at certain times, violated the rights and interests of consumers by signing contracts with borrowers that included unfair and invalid clauses, such as setting the currency which is pinned to the Swiss franc principal amount, without negotiating those terms individually.

The Supreme Court's ruling is final and will allow the 125 thousand Swiss franc loan borrowers affected by the practice to sue the banks to get back the extra money they charged their clients.

"This is the final victory for the Franak Association. These eight banks tried to defraud Croatian borrowers of their money, but after an eight-year legal battle, we won. The Supreme Court has restored our faith in the justice system. Unfortunately, we will still have to file individual lawsuits. When our legal team goes over the verdict thoroughly, we will see what to recommend to our members,” said Elvis Sudar from the Franak Association, the group that has been fighting for the rights of Swiss franc loan holders.

"This means that all of the 125 thousand borrowers who took out loans pegged to the Swiss franc now have an open door to sue the banks and get the money they were robbed of back,” said activist and leader of the SNAGA party Goran Aleksić.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić declined to comment on the verdict, saying he needed more time to study it. The Croatian Banker's Association also said they would make a public statement once they too had a closer look at the verdict.