Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bank loses bid to avoid liability for Hamas attacks

Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East
Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East

Jonathan Stempel

A US judge has rejected Arab Bank Plc's bid to overturn a jury verdict finding it liable for knowingly supporting terrorism.

Referencing a series of attacks in the Middle East, US District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York said the jury's verdict last September "was based on volumes of damning circumstantial evidence that defendant knew its customers were terrorists."

The case against the bank was taken by victims, and their families, of 24 attacks in and around Israel, which they claimed were carried out by Hamas.

They accused Arab Bank of having provided material support to that group, in what lawyers called the first terrorism financing civil case to go to trial in the United States.

Cogan dismissed claims arising from two of the attacks, finding insufficient evidence that Hamas was behind them.

Gary Osen, a lawyer for some victims and their families, said in a phone interview that the judge's opinion "confirms that there was overwhelming evidence of the defendant's having knowing provided material support to Hamas."

A spokeswoman for Arab Bank had no immediate comment.

Cogan is expected to preside on July 13 over a trial to determine damages for three of the attacks.


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