ARAB BANK CASE:
In December 2004, over 2000 victims of terrorist attacks in Israel filed the first major civil counter-terrorism lawsuit against Arab Bank, the largest bank in the Middle East. The lawsuit alleged that Arab Bank “aided and abetted the perpetration of a systematic campaign of genocide, crimes against humanity, terrorism and financing terrorism” by transferring $200 million from the Saudi Committee to the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists. These transfers bolstered the Al Aqsa/Al Quds Intifada and resulted in “the murder and maiming of thousands of victims”.
Plaintiffs alleged that Arab Bank “knowingly or intentionally” funded over 400 terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2014. Evidence included transfers to accounts opened by Arab Bank at its branches in the Palestinian territories for the benefit of suicide bombers’ families and other terrorists, mapping of dozen “charitable organizations” which in fact were run by Hamas and other terrorists as fronts to channel and launder money, and also documents proving that the Arab Bank held accounts for senior Hamas leaders, designated by the US government as terrorists.
The victims’ claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (for U.S. nationals) led, in 2010, to the granting of a motion for sanctions against defendant Arab Bank for its failure to produce documents in connection with bank accounts at Arab Bank branches in Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, the United Arab Republic and other countries. Arab Bank’s attempts to appeal the sanctions have been unsuccessful. Finally, on September 2014, the jury found the bank liable for all 24 attacks. In 2015, Arab Bank entered into a settlement agreement with all US national plaintiffs. Terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.
The victims’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute (for non U.S. nationals) produced an historic ruling, establishing the principle that financing terrorism is a violation of international law and the non-US citizens have standing to bring this lawsuit in federal courts of the United States.