Landmark Verdict: Arab Bank Found Liable in Linde v Arab Bank
On Sept. 22, 2014, an 11-member jury in Brooklyn, N.Y. unanimously found Arab Bank liable on 24 counts of material support of terrorist attacks that resulted in the injury or death of innocent American citizens. These attacks were committed by Hamas terrorists in Israel and the Palestinian Territories between March 2001 and Sept. 2004, with the material support of Arab Bank, which was found liable for maintaining illegal accounts for Hamas leaders and senior operatives, and for facilitating the direct transfer of millions of dollars to terrorist operatives and families of suicide bombers.
The Motley Rice anti-terrorism team represents nearly 40 U.S. citizens and their family members in the cases consolidated under the name Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC.
The second phase of the trial to establish financial damages begins Aug. 17, 2015.
Almog v. Arab Bank
Filed by Motley Rice in December 2004, Almog v. Arab Bank is one of the cases consolidated under the name Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, claiming that Arab Bank is a financier of terrorist activity, brought on behalf of both U.S. and foreign citizens: survivors and family members of those killed or maimed by terrorist groups such as Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Plaintiffs include citizens from Afghanistan, Argentina, France, Israel, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The case is brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act for its American-citizen plaintiffs and the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which provides a federal court venue for cases alleging torts committed in violation of the law of nations, such as genocide and crimes against humanity, where those claims touch and concern the territory of the United States with sufficient force to permit jurisdiction.
The ATS forms a significant part of the Almog v Arab Bank complaint. Shortly after filing, Motley Rice co-founder Ron Motley pointed out how this law applies, stating, “We allege that Hamas and their similar-minded organizations declared a war of genocide,” and that the financing provided through Arab Bank makes this war possible.
The complaint alleges that Arab Bank violated the ATA by providing material support and resources to designated terrorist groups in addition to engaging in the financing of terrorism in violation of the law of nations. The complaint further alleges that Arab Bank has aided and abetted genocide and crimes against humanity in violation of international law by serving as the paymaster to families of terrorist suicide bombers. Such funding allegedly provides incentive for future suicide bombers to carry out their deadly attacks against unwitting and innocent civilians within Israel.
Read the full Almog et al. v. Arab Bank complaint.
About Arab Bank
Arab Bank is headquartered in Amman, Jordan, and is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East with a global network of more than 600 branches and offices in 30 countries, including the United States. It operates 22 branches throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip that allegedly facilitated its role as the paymaster to the families of suicide bombers. Arab Bank operated a federally chartered branch in New York City for 20 years that allegedly facilitated the conversion of currency from Saudi Riyals to U.S. dollars for transfer to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Today, Arab Bank’s New York office is operating as a federal agency following the U.S. Government investigation of the Bank.
More about the Linde v. Arab Bank Anti-Terrorism Lawsuit
State Department Evidence Received Too Late
One day after the trial was sent to the jury for consideration in September 2014, Plaintiffs’ attorneys received a response to their 2008 Freedom of Information Act request, which contained a document related to the Saudi Committee Program in Support of the Al Quds Intifada. According to the document, “In 2003, the United States provided evidence to Saudi authorities that the Saudi al Quds Intifadah Committee, founded in October 2000, was forwarding millions of dollars in funds to the families of Palestinians engaged in terrorist activities, including those of suicide bombers.” This information would have been a critical piece of evidence to counter the Bank’s argument that the United States government approved of the Saudi Committee program.
Sanctions Against Arab Bank
In July 2010, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon issued a sanctions order against Arab Bank for its repeated failure to abide by discovery orders. By not providing the hundreds of thousands of customer records ordered—which the bank argued were protected under Jordanian (and other countries’) privacy laws—Judge Gershon stated that the jury “will be instructed that, based on the defendant’s failure to produce documents, it may, but is not required to, infer that the defendant provided financial services to organizations designated by the United States as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and to individuals affiliated with the FTOs.”
In January 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Arab Bank’s appeal of Judge Gershon’s sanctions order. The case was then remanded back to the trial court in Brooklyn.
Read the full order.
Innocent victims of terrorist attacks and their families should be afforded the right to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. It is the goal of our anti-terrorism attorneys to fight for those impacted by such atrocities and to uncover the many ways in which this pioneering litigation can bring terrorists and those who support them to justice.