Court: Jordanian Bank finances Hamas, must compensate terror victims

The flag of Hamas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( A Brooklyn federal court has found the Jordanian Arab Bank Plc liable for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act by financing Hamas. As many as 300 Americans who were either victims of terrorist attacks or are family members of victims of such attacks originally sued the bank in 2004.

The court ordered the bank to compensate the victims of more than 20 attacks orchestrated by Hamas in Israel, and a damages trial has been set for a later date.

The case, in which the jury deliberated for less than two days before reaching the verdict, is the first terrorism financing civil case tried in the U.S., attorneys said. Similar lawsuits are pending against the Bank of China Ltd., which has been accused of assisting the Islamic Jihad terror group, and Credit Lyonnais SA, also accused of helping Hamas. Both banks deny the allegations.

"It has been a long haul," said plaintiff Maida Averbach, 76, whose son Steve was paralyzed from the neck down in a 2003 suicide bombing and died in 2010 from complications. "Unfortunately my Steve isn't here,” she told Reuters.

The Jordanian Arab bank plans to appeal the decision, but Mark Werbner, the attorney for some of the plaintiffs, said the verdict shows that "when a bank opens its doors to terrorists, they're going to be held accountable."

Posted on September 23, 2014 .