BAKU -- Azerbaijan's government says it is launching a program to pay compensation to depositors in the Soviet-era Azerbaijan Savings Bank, which collapsed in the early 1990s during the breakup of the former U.S.S.R.
The official launch of the program was announced on June 1 in Baku by Finance Minister Samir Sharifov.
Sharifov said it is envisioned that $1.27 billion in compensation will be made available to some 2.4 million former Savings Bank customers who lost their savings.
He said depositors had to file all necessary documents by the end of 2012, and that compensation would be paid by the end of 2013.
The announcement of the compensation comes as Azerbaijan's government has seen its income surge thanks to the development of the Caspian nation's lucrative oil and gas export sector.
With reporting by ITAR-TASS