| NEW YORK, April 24
NEW YORK, April 24 A U.S. judge ruled on
Wednesday that Arab Bank Plc must face claims in a U.S. court
that it provided material support to the Palestinian group
Hamas, lawyers said.
U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in Brooklyn, New York
denied Jordan-based Arab Bank's motion to dismiss the lawsuit
that claims the bank provided material support in the form of
financial services to Hamas.
The lawsuit was filed in 2004 on behalf of U.S. citizens who
were the victims, or the family members of victims, of militant
attacks allegedly committed by Hamas in Israel and Palestinian
The plaintiffs accuse the bank of violating the U.S.
Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of attacks by
U.S.-designated foreign terrorists organizations to seek
compensation. The U.S. State Department designated Hamas as such
an organization in 1997.
The case is expected to go to trial this fall, said Gary
Osen, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, adding his clients are
seeking potentially millions of dollars in monetary damages.
Arab Bank argued in court papers that the plaintiffs could
not prove its actions caused, or meant to cause, any of the
Gershon, while ruling that the trial could proceed,
dismissed other claims that Arab Bank had aided and abetted in
the murder and attempted murder of U.S. citizens.
Osen said that the plaintiffs were pleased with the ruling
in the long-running case. "From our standpoint, it's time for
the bell to toll," he said.
In a statement, Arab Bank spokesman Bob Chlopak said the
bank "remains confident that the extensive evidentiary record
will demonstrate at trial that the transactions at issue were
routine and lawful, and the bank did not knowingly or
proximately cause the acts of terrorism at issue in these
U.S. judges have issued conflicting rulings on whether
foreign banks can face lawsuits seeking damages under U.S. law
for allegedly providing financial services to U.S.-designated
In September, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein who sits on
the same bench granted Arab Bank's motion to dismiss a similar
lawsuit, saying there was no proof the bank acted "with an
improper state of mind or proximately caused the plaintiff's
But Weinstein's fellow jurist, U.S. District Judge Dora
Irizarry, ruled in late February that part of a similar case
against Credit Lyonnias could proceed to trial.
The case is Linde et al. v. Arab Bank, U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of New York, No. 04-2799.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)