Federal Judge Upholds Terror Victim's Right to Pursue Lawsuit against the Arab Bank in U.S. Court
NEW YORK – U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon today ruled in favor of a group of American victims of international terrorism who claim the Jordon-based Arab Bank has actively supported Palestinian terrorists.
In ruling on a motion by Arab Bank to dismiss the lawsuit or move the case to Amman, Jordan, Judge Gershon wrote “the factual allegations of the complaints sufficiently support an inference that Arab Bank and the terrorist organizations were participants in a common plan under which Arab Bank would supply necessary financial services to the organizations which would themselves perform the violent acts. Administering the death and dismemberment benefit plan further supports not only the existence of an agreement but Arab Bank’s knowing and intentional participation in the agreement’s illegal goals. No more is required.”
“Today’s ruling means that hundreds of victims of international terrorism will have their day in an American court,” says their attorney Mark Werbner of the Dallas law firm Sayles Werbner. “We want the world to hear how Arab Bank, through its New York branch, served as a key catalyst for terrorism by providing extensive financial services to notorious Palestinian terror groups.”
Victims claim that Arab Bank provided “systematic” financial support to the families of all Palestinian terrorists killed, injured or incarcerated since the start of the Al Aqsa (Second) Intifada in the fall of 2000. Specifically, Arab Bank administered a terrorist death and dismemberment insurance scheme which allowed the families of so-called “martyrs” to collect financial payments, upon registering with the Bank. According to Werbner, “by implementing and administering this ‘universal insurance’ scheme, the Arab Bank assisted in the ongoing recruitment of terrorists, including scores of suicide bombers who attacked civilians in Israel during the past four years.”
Arab Bank has admitted in a sworn statement filed with the Court that it channeled payments totaling nearly $90 million from the Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al Quds, established in Saudi Arabia in October 2000. Plaintiffs allege that the Saudi Committee “constitutes a professional fundraising apparatus intended to subsidize the Intifada.”
Today’s ruling from Judge Gershon, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, significantly improves the likelihood that the Arab Bank will be forced to defend itself at trial against allegations that it has supported and encouraged terrorism. The trial could take place as early as next year. Depositions of key Arab Bank officials are being scheduled for this fall.
On August 17, The U.S. Treasury Department fined the New York branch of Arab Bank $24 million for its failure to conform to the Bank Secrecy Act, a potent government law designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Treasury Department says that Arab Bank is guilty of “systemic” failures to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act.