Posts Tagged ‘Arab Bank PLC’

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10 biggest terror finance news stories of 2015

January 4, 2016
  1. Funding of Paris attacks

The November 2015 attackers paid for $32,000 worth of pre-attack operations including hotel lodging and car rentals through anonymous prepaid cards purchased in Belgium. Payments were loaded in small increments; rules for prepaid cards allow for reloading up to $2,500 without identity verification. Although the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is responsible for the attacks and the training of several attackers, the precise source of the $32,000 is less clear. Money for travel appears to have become available after a stopover in Greece.

  1. Nuclear deal will release billions to Iran

The nuclear agreement that President Obama signed will release $100 billion to $150 billion of frozen assets to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism. Hopefully the asset thaw will get gummed up in court while attorneys seek to collect the compensation that is owed to the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism first.

  1. Wahhabi funding monarch takes power

Saudi Arabia has crowned a new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, who started his career in public service by bankrolling the exportation of radical Wahhabism throughout the Islamic world. We will be contending with well-funded terrorist groups for as long as men such as Salman rule Arabia.

  1. Coalition bombs ISIS oil fields

According to news reports, the U.S. is increasing pressure against ISIS’s financial assets by bombing oil fields in their territory. If true, the bombing means that the Obama administration has begun to recognize that it is worth destroying oil infrastructure to deprive ISIS of funding even if it means it will be harder to rebuild the infrastructure when and if ISIS retreats.

  1. Son of terror victim sues wire transfer company

The son of a slain Somali politician and singing star is suing the money transfer company Dahabshiil for its alleged involvement in issuing a bounty for the singer’s murder. Saado Ali Warsame had sung a song denouncing Dahabshiil as a financier of terror and a profiteer from inter-tribal conflict.

  1. Jihadists in Yemen fund Charlie Hebdo assassins

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gave $20,000 to future Charlie Hebdo attacker Said Kouachi before he and his brother left Yemen in August 2011. The foreign funding helps explain how a group of underemployed ex-cons were able to buy AK-47s for their January 2015 attacks and pay for Said Kouachi’s international travels.

  1. PA and PLO owe damages for terror attacks

A jury found the Palestinian Authority and the PLO liable for terrorist attacks with American victims in the early 2000s, with damages set at $656 million in Sokolow v. PLO. A federal judge set $10 million bond while the PA and PLO appeal.

  1. Taliban takes control of more turf

The Washington Post reports that the Taliban has taken control or maintains a significant presence in 30 percent of Afghanistan—the most territory it has occupied since 2001. The problem with this from a financial standpoint is that the Taliban lives off the land. One of their primary sources of income is taxation on commercial activity in the areas they control. More turf means more money.

  1. Arab Bank settles with terror victims

Arab Bank PLC provided client services to Hamas affiliates which funded terrorist attacks against Israel. After years of lawsuits, the settlement was reached between the bank and American victims of these terrorist attacks, possibly for $1 billion. Together with the Sokolow, these cases show that legal tactics can be used effectively to hit terrorists where it hurts: their wallets.

  1. Debt-financing of San Bernadino attack

Syed Rizwan Farook took out a $28,000 debt consolidation loan weeks before waging an assault against his victims. This method of financing attacks is particularly popular among jihadists living in Western countries where easy credit is, well, easy.

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Hamas-funding bank wins one appeal

December 16, 2015

Arab Bank PLC had to settle with the victims of terrorist attacks that it helped fund.  But Arab Bank has won an appeal in a separate but related case.  One of the laws used by lawyers who seek compensation for the victims of human rights abuses or terrorism overseas is the Alien Tort Statute.  An appellate court has sided with a lower court that the ATS does not apply in this particular case.  This is an unfortunate development in the legal fight to bankrupt terrorism, but there are still other legal recourses available.

From Courthouse News last week:

MANHATTAN (CN) – Months after Arab Bank settled an anti-terrorism lawsuit filed by U.S. citizens, the Second Circuit refused today to revive a different case the bank faced by foreigners whose families were maimed or killed in attacks on Israel.

Following suicide bombings on Israeli civilians between 2000 and 2004, families of the victims brought lawsuits in U.S. federal courts against Arab Bank and other institutions they accused of supporting terrorists.

The U.S. citizen victims won a verdict holding Arab Bank liable for the attacks last year, and then reached a confidential settlement with the Amman, Jordan-based bank days before the start of another trial to determine damages.

Still keeping mum on those terms, the bank contests reports that it agreed to pay the families $1 billion.

Arab Bank still faced a lawsuit in Manhattan by foreign citizens killed in those attacks, but the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday that this case fails under the Alien Tort Statute…

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Arab Bank settles over terror finance damages

September 7, 2015

Jordan-based Arab Bank PLC has settled on an amount to pay in damages to the families of terror victims.  The bank was found liable in 2014 for helping process transactions for Hamas that facilitated terrorist attacks.  The amount of the settlement wasn’t disclosed, but Arab Bank previously offered $12 million in a deal rejected by the judge.

From The New York Times last month (h/t El Grillo):

Arab Bank Reaches Settlement in Suit Accusing It of Financing Terrorism

Three days before a first-of-its-kind damages trial was supposed to start, a Middle Eastern bank has reached a settlement with hundreds of American plaintiffs, including victims of terrorist attacks around Israel, who had filed a lawsuit against the bank accusing it of supporting terrorism.

A spokesman for the bank, Arab Bank, and a spokeswoman for one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs confirmed on Friday that an agreement had been reached but declined to offer additional details, including the amount of the settlement.

Last year, a jury in Federal District Court in Brooklyn found Arab Bank liable for financing terrorism by processing transactions for members of the militant Islamic group Hamas.

The second phase of the trial, assessing the damages Arab Bank would have to pay to some victims of attacks by Hamas, was scheduled to start on Monday.

All of the plaintiffs are American victims of Hamas attacks or relatives of people who were killed…

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Terror finance predictions for 2015

January 1, 2015
  • Counter-terror attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner says that a jury trial will begin in January for the Sokolow v. Palestinian Liberation Organization. The case is notable in that it takes on the Palestinian Authority itself in addition to the PLO, and could set the precedent for further lawsuits to help de-fund the PA and PLO by terrorist victims’ families.
  • A trial to set damages for Arab Bank PLC’s role in financing terrorism is scheduled to begin in May (h/t Sal). Arab Bank wanted to skip the trial and settle for $12 million, but U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan ruled that a trial would be a more useful starting point.
  • NYU professor Maha Hosain Aziz predicts that lone wolf Islamist terrorist attacks will increase, requiring closer monitoring of social media by law enforcement (h/t Don). Money Jihad predicts that public officials will cite these increased lone wolf attacks as an excuse for why they fail to interdict terrorist funds. They will claim that self-financed attacks are harder to detect than transactions across terrorist financial networks.
  • Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford says Afghan forces will be “tested” by the Taliban in 2015. As Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq indicated, leaving inadequate forces to combat terrorists can lead to their financial resurgence as it did with ISIS. This looks even more ominous when coupled with the Pakistani Taliban’s “stockpiling” of cash through extortion and kidnap-for-ransom schemes in 2014.
  • The FC Barcelona soccer team will not renew its sponsorship deal with Qatar in 2015 over terror finance concerns.
  • Finally, increased cyber-attacks and cyber-theft are always a safe bet. McAfee Labs predicts that “Small nation states and foreign terror groups will take to cyberspace to conduct warfare against their enemies” and increased ransomware attacks in 2015.

Money Jihad predictions last year for 2014 were somewhat prescient, including the projection that Narendra Modi would move against illicit finance if elected as prime minister of India, which he was and which he did, and that ransomware would develop into a larger cyber-security threat. But our predictions that Congress would declassify 28 redacted pages of its report into 9/11, and that Congress would tighten sanctions on Iran proved to be off.

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10 biggest terror finance news stories of 2014

December 30, 2014
  1. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria rebounded from a weaker financial position to amass $3 billion in annual income after taking over Fallujah in January and Mosul in June. Its diversified portfolio makes ISIS the world’s best funded terror group. Western allies are trying to cut off ISIS’s money, but admit that the best case scenario is that ISIS will run out of cash on its own.
  2. Treasury undersecretary David Cohen announced in March that “Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas,” and that it is financing terrorists in Syria. These comments were followed up by former MI6 spy chief Richard Dearlove’s statement in July that “substantial and sustained funding” for ISIS comes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. At least 5 but probably dozens more prominent Qataris are involved in the financial pipeline to Al Qaeda affiliates.
  3. The 4,500 rockets fired by Hamas toward Israel from July to August were financed and supplied by Iran and Qatar, further calling into question the wisdom of Iranian nuclear negotiations and periodic U.S. communications through Qatari diplomats for outreach to the Taliban.
  4. A ban from Israel and a designation as a terrorist entity by the U.A.E. made 2014 an annus horribilus for Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). The world’s largest Islamic charity was also tarnished by revelations that its German subsidiary has worked with a Hamas-connected charity in Syria and that IRW’s U.S. subsidiary, IR-USA, was documented to have given $118,000 to terror-linked groups.
  5. Turkey’s role in financing terrorism spilled out into public view after paying $800 million to ISIS for oil. Turkey’s 2014 corruption scandal also revealed the extent of their involvement in Iranian sanctions evasion. Turkish president Erdogan’s support for Al Qaeda financier Yasin al-Qadi led his removal from U.S. terror blacklists.
  6. Arab Bank was found liable in Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC in September for funding 24 terrorist attacks by Hamas. The case sets a powerful legal precedent for victims’ families to seek justice against Middle Eastern banks involved in financing terror.
  7. A bill to declassify 28 pages of a Congressional report into 9/11 gained 20 new co-sponsors in 2014. The redactions deal with money given by Saudi officials and agents to the hijackers.
  8. Sharia banker and Islamist militant financier Mir Quasem Ali was sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal in November for 8 torture sessions he oversaw against Bangladeshis in 1971. Ali’s involvement highlighted the intersection between Saudi money, violent Islamist groups, and sharia-compliant banking.
  9. Boko Haram kidnapped 200 girls in April, possibly for financial reasons, as suggested by Boko Haram’s demands for a ransom from the Nigerian government and from the girls’ families. Other motives include sex and household work and the prospect of money and prisoner swaps.
  10. An outspoken singer and fierce critic of terror finance, Saado Ali Warsame, was slain in Somalia in July. Warsame previously called upon fellow Somalis to refrain from using the remittance company Dahabshiil because of the firm’s role in funding terrorism. Warsame alleged before her death that the company offered a contract for her assassination.

Newer Money Jihad readers may also want to look back at our biggest stories of 2013, 2012, and 2011 to see how the threats are evolving over time.

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Obama allows trial but undermines terror finance case against Arab Bank

June 6, 2014

The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to turn away an appeal by Arab Bank involving rulings by a lower court.

The U.S. Solicitor General said that the terror financing case against Arab Bank can proceed to trial without its immediate appeal being heard, but essentially sabotaged such a trial by claiming that multiple errors were made in lower court rulings, including the failure to consider the foreign policy impact of the case with respect to Jordan. This argument gives Arab Bank the ammunition it will need for a future appeal if jurors find against the bank at trial.  The solicitor general’s position demonstrates the influence that the U.S. State Department, which sides with Arab Bank, has brought to bear.

Rather than equipping Arab Bank with a legal defense, the bank and Jordan should be held accountable for funding suicide bombers and conspiring to cover it up.

Read reports on the latest development in this case from the Jerusalem Post, New York Times, and Reuters (hat tip to Dr. Karolina Lula).

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Kerry sides with Jordanian bank against terror victims

April 11, 2014

So committed is he to the illusory peace process between Israel and its neighbors that John Kerry’s State Department is siding with Jordan’s Arab Bank in pushing for legal relief from a terrorist financing lawsuit in New York.

At the heart of the case is Arab Bank’s refusal to turn over documents that would provide further detail about the transactions it helped facilitate for Hamas. Arab Bank has cited bank secrecy laws as the reason for its recalcitrance. Jordan has argued on behalf of the bank, making thinly veiled threats that it may not support the peace process with Israel if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t intervene to provide relief to Arab Bank from the rulings against it.

According to recent reporting by New York Times, “The State Department’s arguments appear to closely track those made by the government of Jordan.”

The intervention of the State Department represents a setback to progress that victims of Hamas terrorism appeared to be making last year in the case against Arab Bank.

Suing terrorist organizations and the banks that assist them has become an increasingly utilized tactic in the West to help gradually de-fund terror groups. Kerry doesn’t appear to be on board with that strategy.

Acknowledgment:  Thanks to Twitter user Mean Kitteh for notifying us of the NYT report.