In a landmark verdict, a Brooklyn federal jury Monda ound that a Jordanian bank is liable for knowingly supporting terror operations connected to 24 attacks that killed or injured Americans in the Middle East during the early 2000s.
Roughly 300 victims of those terror attacks in Israel and the occupied territories sued Arab Bank for knowingly transacting with members of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
After two days of deliberation, the jury found the banking giant liable for every one of the attacks — from bus bombings to an explosion at a Sbarro pizzeria.
Jurors found the bank liable for transferring cash to operatives and handling death benefits of $5,300 apiece to families of suicide bombers from a Saudi charity group.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs hailed the verdict as the first time a financial institution has been found culpable for inancing terror.
“When a bank opens its doors to terror they will be held accountable -that’s what the jury found,” said attorney Mark Werbner after the verdict.
Arab Bank’s attorneys ad rgued that they followed all proper banking protocols and never conducted business with anyone listed on an official terror list.
They also contended that private companies should not be in the businesses of deciding who qualifies as a terrorist and who doesn’t.
Attorney Shand Stephens was dismissive of the verdict outside of court and predicted its demise on appeal.
“The evidence is a mile wide and an inch deep,” he said. “The second circuit is going to overturn this.”
Jurors found the bank liable for transferring cash to operatives and handling $5,300 death benefits o families of suicide bombers from a Saudi charity group.
Juror Jill Rath of Wantagh said there was limited quibbling during deliberations and that the verdict was an obvious one.
“There was a great deal of knowledge about the customers, about the events that were taking place, about who they were supporting,” she said of Arab Bank.
The mother of one of the attack victims, Steve Averbach, said she was relieved by the verdict and found it long overdue.
Her son was crippled by a suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus in 2003 and eventually died in 2010.
“This victims of this terror should be reimbursed for all these years of suffering,” said Maida Averbach.
A separate trial will now be held to determine damages.
Arab Bank aid it ill appeal the verdict.