NEW YORK, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Eighty five American, Israeli and
Canadian victims of Hizbollah terror attacks have filed an historic civil
action in the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan against American Express
Bank Ltd. ("AMEX Bank") and the Lebanese-Canadian Bank SAL ("LCB"). The
suit, Licci v. American Express Bank, requests $650 million in compensatory
damages and an unspecified sum of punitive damages.
Amex Bank, headquartered in New York, serves as one of LCB's
correspondent banks the United States, and in that capacity processes LCB's
dollar transactions. LCB's main office is in Beirut, and it has branches
throughout Lebanon and a branch in Canada.
The plaintiffs, whose family members were killed or who were themselves
injured by rocket attacks fired at northern Israel by Hizbollah in the
summer of 2006, allege that AMEX Bank and LCB unlawfully executed millions
of dollars in wire transfers for Hizbollah between 2004 and 2006. The
plaintiffs assert that Hizbollah used the funds transferred by Amex Bank
and LCB to prepare and carry out the rocket attacks which the terrorist
organization rained on Israeli cities between July 12 and August 14, 2006.
The plaintiffs rest their claims in part on written findings issued by
the New York State Banking Department last year, which determined that AMEX
Bank had failed to establish adequate procedures to prevent terrorism
financing as demanded by state and federal law. This is the first lawsuit
brought by terror victims against an U.S. financial institution that serves
as a correspondent for a bank in Lebanon.
The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Robert J. Tolchin Esq. of
New York City, and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq. of Israel.
Attorney Darshan-Leitner stated that: "Hizbollah is a financial giant
which is deeply entrenched in the Lebanese banking system. Any U.S. bank
that serves as correspondent for a Lebanese bank may well be aiding and
abetting Hizbollah terrorism, and runs the risk of serious civil liability.
U.S. correspondents for Lebanese banks owe it to themselves and to their
shareholders to carefully examine and re-evaluate their relationships with
banks in Lebanon."
According to attorney Tolchin: "There will be more suits to come
against Lebanese banks and their U.S. correspondents."
A copy of the complaint is available here:
For more information please contact: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
SOURCE Israel Law Center