US Jury Finds Arab Bank Liable Under Terrorist Financing Law

A United States jury on Monday discovered Arab Bank Plc accountable for offering material support to Hamas and said it should compensate victims of 2 lots attacks attributedcredited to the Islamic militant group in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Jurors needed less than two days of deliberations to reach their decision after a six-week trial in Brooklyn federal court, which attorneys described as the first terrorism funding civil case to reach trial in the United States.

A trial on damages will be held later on. Comparable suits are pending in New York versus Bank of China Ltd., which is implicated of supplying services to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Credit Lyonnais SA, which is accused of helping Hamas. Those banks have actually rejected the respective allegations.

Nearly 300 Americans who were either victims or related to sufferers of attacks linkedconnecteded to Hamas had taken legal action against Arab Bank in 2004.

They accused the Jordanian bank of violating the Anti-Terrorism Act, a law that lets victims of US-designated foreign terrorist organizations such as Hamas seek damages.

It has been a long run, said plaintiff Maida Averbach, 76, who stated her boy was disabled from the neck down in a 2003 suicide battle and died in 2010 from problems. Regrettably my Steve isn’t really right here. Averbach talked to reporters by phone.

Arab Bank said it would appeal. In a statement, the bank said the judgment comes as not a surprise after a series of exactly what it considered legally inaccurate court judgments that kept it from mounting an appropriate defense, and efficiently put Hamas on trial.

The bank also said the decision exposes banks such as itself to massive liability for offering regular banking services.

Shand Stephens, a legal representative for Arab Bank, forecasted that the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals is going to reverse this.

Mark Werbner, an attorney for some of the complainants, said the judgment sends a message that when a bank opens its doors to terrorists, theyre going to be held liable.

In a separate case, the Second Circuit ruled on Monday that Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plcs National Westminster Bank device have to deal with claims by terrorism victims over banking services it provided a charity linkedconnecteded to Hamas.

WONDERFUL OFFER OF KNOWLEDGE

Arab Bank had actually been accused of intentionally keeping accounts for Hamas operatives, and financing millions of dollars in payments for households of suicide bombers and those put behind bars or hurt during a Palestinian uprising that started in 2000.

That is how we stop terrorism, Tab Turner, a legal representative for the plaintiffs, said in his closing argument recently. You take the moneythe cash away.

Attorneys for Arab Bank countered that many of the people and organizations alleged to have gotten improper banking services had not been designated by the US government as terrorists.

But one juror, 24-year-old speech therapist Jill Rath, stated the evidence showed a terrific offera large amount of expertise within the bank that its activity supported Hamas.

Everyone was extremely positive in the end, she stated, describing jurors.

To discovery liability, jurors had to conclude that Arab Bank purposefully supported Hamas, that its support was a significant factorconsider the attacks, and that the attacks were a reasonably foreseeable outcome, according to the judges directions.

Understanding your client is important, said Will Schwartz, senior vice president overseeing the US financial sector at the DBRS credit rating service. You are at least partially liable if its discovered you are, inadvertently or not, funding dubious activity.

Lee Wolosky, a legal representative representing complainants against Bank of China, said Mondays judgment reveals it is insufficient to simply state it is the task of governments to determine terrorists.

He likewise stated the Arab Bank plaintiffs should have the ability to implement any damages awarded. Arab Bank does company in numerous nations throughout the world, consisting of in Europe, that will enforce a judgment from the United States, he stated.

Stephen Landes, a lawyer who won the first claim on behalf of United States citizens under the ATA versus US-based charities implicated of funding Hamas, stated it was challenging to state if the ruling would impact the cases against Bank of China and Credit Lyonnais. But he stated, the takeaway is that any bank that was banking a terrorist organization has actuallyneeds to be concerned now.

The jury plainly respondedreacted to the conduct of the bank in supplying financial support to a terrorist organization, stated Landes, who informally exchanged concepts with plaintiffs lawyers in the Arab Bank case but was not paid. Thats exactly what needs to be shown, that the bank knew who they were handling.

The case is Linde et al. v. Arab Bank, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New york city, No. 04-2799.

(Extra reporting by Joseph Ax, Lauren Tara LaCapra and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Richard Chang, Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker)

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