A United States jury found Arab Bank, PLC, based in Jordan, liable for knowingly giving assistance to the U.S. State Department designated terrorist group Hamas. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bank is the largest financial institution in the country and one of the largest in the Middle East.
Close to 300 Americans were victims or relatives of victims of Hamas linked attacks in Israel between 2001 and 2004. Observers of the case claim its verdict may open the door for more litigation under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990, which allows United States victims of international terrorism to pursue recourse in federal court.
Arab Bank is the first bank facing trial under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act. The bank transferred money to operatives, functioning as a conduit between several charities that funneled money to Hamas and handling death benefits for families of suicide bombers from a Saudi charity group (Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al Quds). According to some news stories, Arab Bank is planning to appeal the verdict, but a separate trial will take place to determine the damages.
In a separate case, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reinstated a similar lawsuit against National Westminster Bank where 200 Americans were victims of an alleged Hamas attack in Israel.
Written by Lulaine Compere