(Adds reaction from both parties)
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, June 30 The U.S. Supreme Court on
Monday left intact a lower court ruling against Jordan-based
Arab Bank Plc for failing to supply documents in
lawsuits accusing it of providing services to groups the United
States brands as terrorist organizations.
The court rejected Arab Bank's appeal of a U.S. federal
judge's ruling. Plaintiffs accuse the bank of providing banking
services to front groups for Hamas and other militant groups the
United States has put on its list of terrorist organizations.
Arab Bank said the judge's ruling was forcing it to choose
between running afoul of the U.S. court and violating bank
secrecy laws in Jordan, Lebanon and other countries.
The lawsuits were brought by U.S. citizens and foreign
nationals who were the victims or the family members of victims
of attacks blamed on Hamas in Israel and the Palestinian
territories between 1994 and 2005.
Gary Osen, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement
the case was now likely to go to trial, scheduled to begin on
Aug. 11. "Our clients have waited 10 years for this moment," he
The bank said in a statement that the Supreme Court's action
"is not a determination on the merits of the case" and said it
was confident it would "ultimately prevail."
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2013 upheld
the decision against Arab Bank by U.S. District Judge Nina
Gershon, who ruled that a jury could take into account the fact
the bank had withheld certain documents when reaching a verdict.
In court filings, Arab Bank cited a finding by a different
U.S. District Court judge whom it says ruled on the same
evidence in another case that there was no proof that anything
but routine financial services were provided to charities
alleged to be front organizations. That judge found that many of
the same entities received grants from the U.S. government when
they held accounts with Arab Bank, the filings said.
The Obama administration had urged the court not to hear the
Arab Bank case.
The case is Arab Bank v. Linde, U.S. Supreme Court, No.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham, Howard
Goller and Leslie Adler)