85 Victims of Hizbollah Terrorist Rocket Attacks File Unprecedented Civil Suit Against American Express Bank in New York Court

First American Correspondent Bank to be Sued for Aiding Terrorist

Organization Facing $650 Million in Damages

Jul 14, 2008, 01:00 ET from Israel Law Center

    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: http://www.snapdrive.net/public.php?action=download&id=33e970e810c4 For more information please contact: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
212-591-0073 Email: nitsanad@zahav.net.il

SOURCE Israel Law Center