U.S. top court declines to hear Sept. 11 case against banks

WASHINGTON, June 30 Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:36am EDT

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WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a lower court ruling that barred victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York from pursuing claims against banks they accused of indirectly helping Islamic militants.

The high court rejected an appeal filed by the victims following an April 2013 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that complaints against banks and entities accused of indirectly aiding the perpetrators could be dismissed. Those victims included family members of nearly 3,000 people who died in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.

The bank defendants dismissed by the ruling include Al Rajhi Bank, Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, Dallah Al Baraka Group LLC and Saudi American Bank, now known as Samba Financial Group. Separately, the appeals court also dismissed several individuals and companies from the case.

The appeals court said allegations against the banks over material support for terrorism could go ahead if there was a more direct relationship between the bank and a particular militant action.

The case before the high court is just one element of the multi-district litigation filed by victims against a wide range of defendants. The attacks were orchestrated by Osama bin Laden under the auspices of the al Qaeda militant group. The U.S. military killed bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

The administration of President Barack Obama urged the court not to take the case.

The case is In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-318.

In a related case, the court declined to hear an appeal filed by Saudi Arabia's government objecting to a lower court decision to revise the Sept. 11 victims' lawsuit against it for alleged links with the attacks. The case is Saudi Arabia v. Federal Insurance Company, et al, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-1146. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller)

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