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 months." 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 organizations. 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. About Motley Rice LLC Motley Rice LLC is one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' litigation firms. Motley Rice attorneys gained global recognition for their pioneering work on behalf of asbestos victims, the State Attorneys General in their landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and the 9/11 families in their groundbreaking lawsuit against terrorist financiers. Motley Rice attorneys continue to seek justice in the areas of: catastrophic injury; complex case resolution; consumer and commercial fraud; environmental hazards and contamination; medical negligence and defects; occupational disease; and transportation defects. For more information on Motley Rice LLC call 1-800-768-4026 or visit http://www.motleyrice.com .
SOURCE Motley Rice LLC