Motley Rice heads to the U.S. Supreme Court in Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC
On Oct. 11, 2017, the United States Supreme Court heard Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC and will be deciding whether corporations like Arab Bank PLC can be held liable for violations of international law under the ATS. Learn more about the Supreme Court petition.
Historic litigation: Linde v. Arab Bank
On Sept. 22, 2014, an 11-member jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., unanimously found Arab Bank liable for 24 terrorist attacks carried out by HAMAS. The jury found that Arab Bank intentionally financed HAMAS, including providing material support for terrorist attacks that resulted in the injury or death of innocent American citizens. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the verdict, however, after hearing arguments from Arab Bank that the jury was improperly instructed during the trial, and remanded the litigation back to the District Court for consideration.
The litigation was filed in response to attacks that were committed by HAMAS terrorists in Israel and the Palestinian Territories between March 2001 and Sept. 2004, with the alleged material support of Arab Bank.
Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, marked the first time that a financial institution had been brought to trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
The second phase of the trial to establish financial damages was slated to begin August 17, 2015, but the litigation settled for undisclosed confidential sum before going to trial. The Appellate decision ended the Linde litigation pursuant to an undisclosable settlement agreement.
State Department Evidence Received Too Late
One day after the trial was sent to the jury for consideration in September 2014, Plaintiffs’ attorneys received a response to their 2008 Freedom of Information Act request, which contained a document related to the Saudi Committee Program in Support of the Al Quds Intifada. According to the document, “In 2003, the United States provided evidence to Saudi authorities that the Saudi al Quds Intifadah Committee, founded in October 2000, was forwarding millions of dollars in funds to the families of Palestinians engaged in terrorist activities, including those of suicide bombers.” This information would have been a critical piece of evidence at trial to counter the Bank’s argument that the United States government approved of the Saudi Committee program.
Sanctions Against Arab Bank
In July 2010, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon issued a sanctions order against Arab Bank for its repeated failure to abide by discovery orders. By not providing the hundreds of thousands of customer records ordered—which the bank argued were protected under Jordanian (and other countries’) privacy laws—Judge Gershon stated that the jury “will be instructed that, based on the defendant’s failure to produce documents, it may, but is not required to, infer that the defendant provided financial services to organizations designated by the United States as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and to individuals affiliated with the FTOs.”
In January 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Arab Bank’s appeal of Judge Gershon’s sanctions order, and the Supreme Court denied Arab Bank’s petition to have the high court decide the appeal. The case was then remanded back to the trial court in Brooklyn.
Read the full order.
Almog v. Arab Bank Background
Filed by Motley Rice in December 2004, Almog v. Arab Bank was consolidated with ten other cases (two of which were also filed by Motley Rice) in the Eastern District of New York, claiming that Arab Bank is a financier of terrorist activity. Almog v. Arab Bank was brought on behalf of both U.S. and foreign citizens: survivors and family members of those killed or maimed by terrorist groups such as HAMAS, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Plaintiffs include citizens from Afghanistan, Argentina, France, Israel, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Shortly after filing, Motley Rice co-founder Ron Motley pointed out how this law applies, stating, “We allege that HAMAS and their similar-minded organizations declared a war of genocide,” and that the financing provided through Arab Bank makes this war possible.
The complaint alleges that Arab Bank violated the ATS by providing material support and resources to designated terrorist groups in addition to engaging in the financing of terrorism in violation of the law of nations. The complaint further alleges that Arab Bank has aided and abetted genocide and crimes against humanity in violation of international law by serving as the paymaster to families of terrorist suicide bombers. Such funding allegedly provides incentive for future suicide bombers to carry out their deadly attacks against unwitting and innocent civilians within Israel.
Read the full Almog et al. v. Arab Bank complaint.
About Arab Bank
Arab Bank is headquartered in Amman, Jordan, and is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East with a global network of more than 600 branches and offices in 30 countries, including the United States. It operates 22 branches throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip that allegedly facilitated its role as the paymaster to the families of suicide bombers. Arab Bank operated a federally chartered branch in New York City for 20 years that allegedly facilitated the conversion of currency from Saudi Riyals to U.S. dollars for transfer to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Today, Arab Bank’s New York office is operating as a federal agency following the U.S. Government investigation of the Bank.
Read more about Motley Rice Anti-Terrorism Litigation