Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old American citizen, was murdered in an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in 2006 at a Tel Aviv restaurant.
Ten other individuals were zkilled in the explosions, and Wultz’s father was seriously injured. Wultz filed a complaint charging the Bank of China Ltd. with providing extensive banking services, including wiring funds, to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas organizations.
The plaintiff filed the case in March 2009 at the Federal District Court of Washington, DC. They alleged that the Bank of China violated the Antiterrorism Act (ATA) by acting as a key financial source by which terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad could continue to operate and engage in terror attacks. The bank officials did nothing to stop the transfers, despite being warned in 2005 by Israel’s counter-terrorism division that wire transfers to terrorist operatives were taking place in their bank.
The Bank of China contended that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue the bank. The DC Federal District Court ruled that the plaintiffs had standing, because they adequately demonstrated a causal link between the Bank of China and the subsequent terror activities.Significantly, the court provided a new interpretation of the ATA: even if the funds were not used to actually carry out a predicate act, “Bank of China’s knowledge that they could be, even if they actually were not, is enough.”
On October 29, 2012, the Honorable J. Scheindlin issued a ruling compelling Bank of China to provide discovery. The case was subsequently transferred to the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, where litigation continues.