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
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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