9/11 Victims Bill Drives New Suit Against Saudi Arabia

MANHATTAN (CN) — Taking advantage of a new law crafted for 9/11 victims, dozens of insurers have refiled their federal complaint against Saudi Arabia for its sponsorship of al-Qaida.

Prior to passage of JASTA last year — short for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorist Act — the kingdom could not be held liable over injuries stemming from an international act of terrorism because it has never officially been designated as a sponsor of terrorism.

Now that JASTA allows civil claims against a foreign government, however, numerous Lloyd’s syndicates are at the head of a 103-page complaint to hold Saudi Arabia liable.

Joined by Liberty Mutual, Safeco and Wausau, the insurance companies seek billions for the coverage that they provided to various victims of 9/11, including the families who lost loved ones and businesses that suffered catastrophic property damage.

Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Commission are liable for aircraft hijackings that killed thousand in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, according to the complaint, “because their conduct substantially assisted al Qaeda’s commission of the September 11th attacks.”

The complaint cites findings by the 9/11 Commission  that “al Qaeda was funded, to the tune of approximately $30 million per year, by diversions of money from Islamic charities.”

A number of these charities, according to the complaint, are controlled by the Saudi government.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels is presiding over the case as part of multidistrict litigation in his Manhattan courtroom.

Representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  and the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The attorneys behind the complaint at Cozen O’Connor brought a similar complaint on behalf of Lloyd’s on the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.

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