Victims of Terror and Members of Congress React to OCC Enforcement Action Against Arab Bank

Feb 25, 2005, 00:00 ET from Motley Rice LLC

    NEW YORK, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. and Israeli victims of terrorism
 and Members of Congress praised today's enforcement action against Arab Bank
 plc, but also expressed concerns that it did not go far enough.
     "We feel vindicated by what the Treasury Department has done, but if the
 government is serious about holding Arab Bank accountable, they can't be
 allowed to run out of the country unless our rights are preserved," said John
 Linde Sr., a former U.S. Marine.  Mr. Linde's son John, also a former Marine,
 was killed on October 15, 2003 while escorting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the
 Gaza Strip.
     Over 1300 U.S. and Israeli victims of terrorism have sued Arab Bank in New
 York alleging it provided systematic financial services to the families of
 Palestinian terrorists and front organizations for Hamas and other terrorist
 groups.  On February 7, 2005, Arab Bank said it would close its New York
 Branch, citing the "extremely litigious" environment in the United States.
     "The bank should be required to face its day in court," said Polina Valis,
 a New York resident who was severely injured in the attack on the Dolphinarium
 disco in June 2001 that killed 21 and injured over 100. The family of one of
 the perpetrators of that attack, Said Hassan Hussein Hotari, appears to have
 received a payment of 20,000 Saudi riyals ($5,300) via the payment program
 administered by Arab Bank for the families of so-called Palestinian "martyrs."
 The payment to Hotari and similar payments to suicide bombers are described in
 a December 2004 report of the Congressional Research Service.
     Representative Sue Kelly (R-NY), the chairwoman of the Oversight and
 Investigations Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee said:
 "Today's action by the OCC is encouraging.  I remain deeply concerned about
 reports of Arab Bank's role in supporting terrorism and look forward to
 learning additional facts regarding this situation in the coming weeks and
     Among other things, the Arab Bank launders payments to charitable fronts
 for Palestinian terrorist groups and the families of so-called "martyrs" by
 converting them into dollars at its Madison Avenue branch, the victims
 lawsuits allege.  The funds are then allegedly re-routed to local branches of
 Arab Bank in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and paid out for distribution to the
 families of terrorists and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad front
     Lawyers for the victims, led by Ron Motley, Allan Gerson and Gary Osen,
 have said that they would take steps to prevent Arab Bank from removing assets
 and documents from the United States.
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