After a five-week trial in federal [US] court, the plaintiffs — bombing victims or their relatives— convinced panelists that Arab Bank either knowingly or with willful blindness transferred millions of dollars to charities controlled by Hamas and to families of suicide bombers between 2001 and 2004. Another jury will decide monetary damages.
Arab Bank's main office, pictured, is in Amman, Jordan, but it also has a branch in New York City — where a federal jury found the institution liable for funneling money to terrorists.
In a historic verdict, a Brooklyn federal civil jury on Monday found Arab Bank liable for 24 terrorist attacks that killed or wounded nearly 300 U.S. citizens in Israel.
“This is an enormous milestone,” plaintiffs' lawyer Gary Osen said. “This is the first financial institution held liable for knowingly supporting terrorism.”After a five-week trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, the plaintiffs proved that Arab Bank either knowingly or with willful blindness transferred millions of dollars to charities controlled by the Hamas terror group and to families of suicide bombers between 2001 and 2004.
Josh Faudem, who survived a 2003 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, is shown in August outside Brooklyn Federal Court after he testified in the civil trial against Arab Bank.
Arab Bank argued that its hands were clean of blood because the charities were humanitarian groups that were not designated as terrorist organizations by the United States or any other government.
“The plaintiff's evidence was a mile wide and an inch deep,” Arab Bank's lead lawyer Shand Stephens said outside court. He predicted the verdict would be reversed by a U.S. Court of Appeals.
Shand complained that the bank's defense was undermined by a federal judge's order that the jury could draw a negative inference from the fact that a mountain of bank customer records was concealed from the plaintiffs.
Juror Jill Rath told reporters that the issue was one of the smoking guns that convinced panelists that Arab Bank was liable for the attacks.
“There was a great deal of knowledge in the bank about (Hamas),” Rath said.No date has been set for a new jury to be selected to decide the amount of monetary damages.
The mother of Steve Averbach, who was mortally wounded in the bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv, said the Arab Bank was just as culpable as the suicide bombers and she was sorry it faced only a monetary penalty and not criminal charges.
“I'm disappointed the United States didn't protect its citizens,” Maida Averbach, 76, said.