ARAB BANK TO END U.S. OPERATIONS. FACES OVERHWELMING EVIDENCE NY BRANCH FUNDS MID-EAST TERRORISM
New York, NY (Feb. 8, 2005)–– In the wake of a pioneering lawsuit filed by families of American victims of Palestinian terrorism, Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, today announced plans to close its New York branch and end its American operations.
On behalf of more than 38 American victims of Palestinian terror and more than 170 terrorist victims’ relatives, the legal team today promised to follow the bank until justice is achieved. “If Arab Bank follows through on its plans to close its American operations, we will have struck an important blow in the global war on terrorism,” said Gary Osen, the lead attorney for Linde v. Arab Bank. “Without an American branch to convert foreign currency to dollars, terrorists will have a harder time paying benefits to Palestinian suicide bombers’ families,” Osen said. The Arab Bank, through its Madison Avenue branch in Manhattan, has channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars to terror front groups, according to the lawsuit Linde v. Arab Bank. The money transfers violate American anti-terrorism laws, according to the lawsuit that is pending in the U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York. “Whether it has a branch in the United States or not, Arab Bank remains both legally and morally responsible for its actions. Banks must not be allowed to launder money for terrorists,” Osen said. With $32 billion in assets and operations in 30 countries, Arab Bank is among the largest in the Middle East and is the preeminent bank in the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab Bank launders Saudi payments to the families of suicide bombers and other funds intended for Palestinian terrorist groups and converts them into dollars at its Madison Avenue branch, the lawsuit alleges. The funds are then re-routed to local branches of Arab Bank in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and paid out to the personal accounts of hundreds of terrorists and their families, as well as Hamas front organizations and other Palestinian terrorist groups, according to the lawsuit. “No matter where Arab Bank moves we will continue to aggressively pursue legal avenues to stop its support for terrorists,” Osen said.