The Arab Bank cases (Linde v. Arab Bank; Almog v. Arab Bank)
John Linde, a US citizen from Texas, was murdered in northern Gaza on October 15, 2003 when the car in which he was traveling was detonated by a remote-controlled bomb.
John’s wife, along with many others, began their lawsuit against the Arab Bank on July 2, 2004 in the Eastern District Court of New York.
On October 4, 2003, Ruth, Zeev, Moshe, and Tomer Almog—along with seventeen others—were murdered at the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa by a female Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bomber. Surviving members of the Almog family began their lawsuit, with thousands of other plaintiffs, on December 21, 2004 in the Eastern District Court of New York.
Linde, the Almog family, and thousands of victims and families of the victims that were harmed in similar ways due to the terrorist attacks conducted in Israel during the Second Intifada (2001-2003) were joined as plaintiffs in the Arab Bank cases. These victims have had numerous legal victories in a suit that began litigation under the Antiterrorism Act (ATA) in a New York District Court against the Arab Bank.
While many of the victims of the terrorist attacks are Israeli citizens, the cases were allowed to proceed under the ATA because the some of the spouses of these victims are US citizens.
In the Linde and Almog cases, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals expanded the substantive claims (grounds under which a lawsuit may be brought) available under the ATA to aiding and abetting terrorist acts.
The plaintiffs were able to demonstrate that the Arab Bank provided its clients – which included the Saudi Committee and Hamas – with financial services, with the knowledge that these clients conducted terrorist activities: the Saudi Committee awarded money to terrorists’ families as a reward for conducting suicide attacks, and Hamas is a recognized terror organization that had its own account number at the Arab Bank. The Arab Bank was denied certiorari by the Supreme Court in June 2014 after the Court of Appeals affirmed sanctions on the Arab Bank for its failure to comply with the trial court’s orders to produce documents required for discovery in the fact-finding process of the case.
In September 2014, a federal jury found Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorism efforts connected to two dozen attacks in the Middle East, the first time a bank has ever been held liable in a civil suit under a broad anti-terrorism statute.
Linde v. Arab Bank was the first terror financing case to go to trial, and could lead to a modification of the U.S. law surrounding terror financing by emphasizing the responsibility of banks to monitor clients for whom they are banking.
In August 2015, the Arab Bank reached an undisclosed settlement which covered all of the claims brought by the plaintiffs under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act, a total of about 500 plaintiffs. The settlement was reached three days before a first-of-its-kind damages trial was supposed to start.
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