Weiss v. National Westminster Bank

On August 19, 2003, Tzvi Weiss was severely injured while he was waiting for a bus that was detonated upon its arrival by a Hamas suicide bomber. Weiss and his family filed suit in the Eastern District Court of New York on September 29, 2005.

In addition to the Weiss plaintiffs, 20 other families sought remedy under Antiterrorism Act for their injuries incurred in the terrorist attacks by Hamas affiliates between 2002-2003.

The plaintiffs seek to hold the National Westminster Bank liable for maintaining accounts and transferring money to organizations controlled by Hamas. One such organization was Interpal, a British entity that that has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization by the US government. Specifically, the US Treasury Department has determined that Interpal was an organization utilized to hide the flow of money to Hamas, working as a fundraising coordinator for Hamas.

In May 2013, U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry granted the bank summary judgment, holding that the plaintiffs could not prove that the bank knew or deliberately disregarded that Interpal was funding Hamas terrorism, thus mooting the other grounds for dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims.

The court concluded that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ allegations, National Westminster Bank  was diligent in monitoring Interpal’s account, it repeatedly reported its suspicions about Interpal to UK law enforcement authorities and the Bank of England, and it was assured by the authorities that they had no plans to charge Interpal with any wrongdoing, and therefore the bank could continue to provide banking services to it.

The plaintiffs have appealed the District Court’s dismissal order to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.


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