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Arab Bank 'relieved' after US appeals court rejects verdict in Hamas support case

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 10,2018 - Last updated at Feb 10,2018

A general view of the Arab Bank headquarters in Amman (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The Arab Bank expressed its "relief" on Saturday over a US appeals court that has thrown out a 2014 jury verdict finding Arab Bank Plc liable for knowingly supporting attacks in Israel linked to Hamas.

"The bank is pleased and relieved for the issuing of the ruling that stresses on the bank's integrity and strong position and its constant adherence to regulatory requirements and international banking standards," the bank said in a statement in response to questions by The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The court ruling is final and completely closed the case, said the bank in the statement.

The Arab Bank voiced appreciation to the government and the Central Bank of Jordan for their continued support to the bank throughout the case, and to all who showed solidarity and support.

"The Arab Bank will continue to remain committed to implementing the highest standards of integrity in its behaviour and banking operations to maintain its leadership position in the banking sector, both in the region and abroad," the   bank said on Saturday.

On Friday, a decision by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ended thirteen years-and-a-half years of litigation over Arab Bank’s liability, which the Jordanian lender has disputed, for 24 attacks in and around Israel in the early 2000s, Reuters reported.

The appeals court said jurors in Brooklyn were instructed incorrectly by the trial judge that under federal law, Arab Bank committed an “act of international terrorism” by knowingly providing material support to Hamas, which the Department of State designated in 1997 as a foreign terrorist organisation, according to the news agency.

In August 2015, 11 months after the verdict, Arab Bank had reached a confidential settlement with 597 victims or relatives of victims of 22 of the attacks, pending the bank’s appeal of the verdict, court papers show. Both sides agreed to forgo a retrial if the verdict were thrown out, according to Reuters.

“The plaintiffs will receive meaningful and very substantial compensation for their injuries,” their lawyer, Gary Osen, said in an e-mail. “Today’s decision doesn’t diminish the fact a jury found Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting Hamas.”

Sarri Singer, injured in a 2003 Hamas-linked bombing of a bus in Jerusalem, said in a statement about Arab Bank: “Families hurt by them are going to get the help they need.”

The Arab Bank’s settlement averted a trial to determine damages for 16 “bellwether” plaintiffs, concerning three of the attacks. Had the verdict been affirmed, they would have been entitled to at least $100 million, Friday’s decision said, according to Reuters.

The verdict had been the first in the US holding a bank civilly liable for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), which lets US citizens seek damages from international terrorism.

The Arab Bank was accused of handling transactions for Hamas, and routing money to charities that supported the group or families of suicide bombers.

In Friday’s decision, Circuit Judge Reena Raggi said a jury properly instructed on the law might have inferred that Arab Bank had been sufficiently “aware” of Hamas’ activities, the news agency indicated.

But she said “we cannot conclude that such evidence, as a matter of law”, shows that the bank knew it was “playing a role in violent or life‐endangering acts whose apparent intent was to intimidate or coerce civilians or to affect a government”. 

The trial judge, Brian Cogan, dismissed claims concerning two of the 24 attacks in 2015.


Congress’ passage in 2016 of the Justice Against Terrorism Act extended ATA liability to those who aid and abet acts of international terrorism.

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