The plaintiffs allege that because the Arab Bank knew the funds were related to terror groups and terror activities, the Bank bears civil liability for the deaths of victims of terror resulting from attacks by those who received those funds.
The families of the terror victims are suing the Bank for damages to compensate for the murders of their loved ones.
The wire transfers were allegedly sent from terrorist sources to other international terrorists, among them Gaza’s current Hamas de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and former Hamas commanders Salah Shehada and Ahmed Jabari – now dead – as well as Hamas co-founder Ibrahim al-Muqadama.
The Bank contends there is no proof the funds went to terrorists and claims there is no proof the funds contributed directly to any terror attack. The Bank also claims the transfers were made without the institution’s knowledge of breaking the law at the time.
As the case has made its way through the court system, the picture has become clearer. Some of the past funding sources in dispute had received transfers themselves from the US government and were declared “terror free.” But some of this evidence has since been thrown out of court as “too general.”
But there is also a question of responsibility on the part of the US government, which allegedly has not always make clear who should be held responsible for what, or when. The Bank raised the issue of whether some of the funding sources were on the watch list of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control at the time of transfer – which may be a legitimate claim.
The US government, meanwhile, has slammed the lower court for not fully considering the foreign policy consequences of ignoring Jordan’s sovereign interests in this case. The Arab Bank is Jordan’s national bank, and if it loses the case, the Obama administration contends that the Jordanian economy and possibly the country’s motivation for counter terror cooperation with the United States could go up in smoke.
In May, the US government did not ask the Supreme Court to intervene pre-trial — and the Supreme Court rejected the Arab Bank’s petition to hear its case. But the Obama administration has made it clear that if Jordan’s interests are not taken into account, the government reserves the right to intervene, post-trial.