Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Hijack Survivors Sue Banks for Syria’s Money

MANHATTAN (CN) - JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, the National Bank of Egypt and others are holding $602 million for Syria, which is owed to survivors of a 1985 Egypt Air hijacking, survivors and family members claim in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Patrick Scott Baker sued the above-named banks, the Bank of New York Mellon, Intesa SanPaolo SPA and Commerzbank. He seeks a judicial order that the banks "turn over certain assets payable to or held for the benefit of defendants Syrian Arab Republic, Syrian Air Force Intelligence, or General Muhammed Al-Khuli (collectively, the 'Syria Judgment Debtors')."

Three heavily armed terrorists from Abu Nidal's Palestinian group diverted a Cairo-bound Flight 648 from Athens on Nov. 23, 1985, shooting hostages and lobbing grenades into the passenger area.

U.S. traveler Patrick Scott Baker survived his shooting, as the pilot steered 42 out of 90 passengers to safety during an emergency landing in Malta.

In 2003, Baker joined more than a dozen survivors and their family members in filing a lawsuit in the District of Columbia District Court.

A federal judge entered a $601,969,151.50 verdict against the defendants on March 31, 2011 under the "terrorism exception" of the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.

"To date, the Syria judgment debtors have not voluntarily paid the March 31, 2011 judgment," Baker and his co-plaintiffs claim in the new complaint.

Baker says he and his co-plaintiffs registered the District of Columbia judgment in Manhattan Federal Court on Dec. 19, 2011.

Filed Monday, the heavily redacted petition includes more than 32 pages of attachments, mostly under seal.

Baker et al. are represented by Ira Greenberg with Edwards Wildman & Palmer.

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