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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Jordan Endorses Arab Bank Appeal

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - A federal judge must let Arab Bank appeal a jury's liability finding tied to two dozen Hamas-sponsored terrorist attacks, Jordan says.

"Jordan has grave concerns over the unfair manner in which the trial was conducted in this case," a friend-of-the-court brief Jordan electronically filed Wednesday states.

Just over a month has past since U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan presided over an unprecedented six-week civil trial in which a federal jury found Arab Bank liable for 24 Hamas-sponsored suicide attacks in Israel.

Hundreds of families whose relatives were killed or injured by Hamas attacks in Israel during the Second Intifada sued the bank in 2004.

A hearing between the parties Friday proved uneventful, concerning a bid by Arab Bank for appointment of a special master.

Judge Cogan said he may hold a "bellweather" to determine damages.

Jordan noted in its nine-page amicus motion notes that that President Barack Obama recently it a "great friend" and an "invaluable ally."

"Arab Bank PLC is the largest financial institution in the kingdom, and it plays a unique and important role in the Jordanian economy and surrounding region," Jordan's motion in support of the bank's appeal states.

Jordan says the jury's decision "wrongly punished Arab Bank for adhering to Jordanian bank privacy laws and thereby disregarded Jordan's sovereign interest in enforcing its own laws in its own territory against its own subject."

It was "fundamentally flawed" for Judge Cogan to not let jurors know why the bank could not produce certain bank documents, Jordan says.

Cogan also showed "disrespect" to Jordanian sovereignity, the motion says, by "instructing the jury that it could infer the bank 'provided financial services to Hamas,' and to individuals affiliated with Hamas' because the bank had not turned over documents that Jordanian law precluded it from turning over."

Letting jurors infer from the bank's failure to turn over bank records that it did business with known Hamas terrorists left Jordan's biggest bank "unable to offer critical evidence of the bank's state of mind solely because the bank declined to violate Jordanian criminal law and turn over confidential bank records to private plaintiffs," the filing continues.

The civil trial against the bank was the first known case against a financial institution accused of financing a terrorist organization under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. Hamas was branded a terrorist group by the United States in 1997.

During trial, the plaintiff families claimed that the bank did business with known Hamas leaders and paid out families of suicide attackers. The bank has denied any wrongdoing.

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