MONTREAL (CN) – Four Canadian citizens who live in Israel and whose homes were bombed by Hezbollah rocket attacks say the Lebanese Canadian Bank made the attacks possible by providing banking services to Hezbollah’a two main financial arms. They demand $6 million in Superior Court, claiming that “the LCB facilitated and lent support to the violent acts of Hizballah.”
Mother and daughter plaintiffs Sarah Yefet and Shoshana Sappir say that the town of Safed, in Galilee was “bombarded with rockets fired by Hizballah terrorist operating out of southern Lebanon” in July and August 2006. Hezbollah rockets damaged their home sent Sappir, who was 5 months pregnant, into premature labor, the complaint states. While she was hospitalized, a second rocket destroyed their property, they say.
Married couple and co-plaintiffs Rochelle Shalmoni and Oz Shalmoni say they were visiting their family in Canada when rockets hit their home in the Karmiel, also in Galilee.
Since 2004, the Canadian Lebanese Bank, which maintains 32 branches in Lebanon and a sole foreign office in Montreal, has allowed the Yousser Company for Finance and Investment and the Martyrs (Shahid) Foundation – both alleged Hezbollah financial providers – to open and maintain accounts, the complaint states.
Yousser and Martyrs transfer substantial Hezbollah funds through wire transfers, letter of credit, checks and credit cards provided by the defendants, the complaint states.
“It is notorious public knowledge in Lebanon that Yousser and Martyrs are part of Hizballah’s financial arms,” it adds. Plaintiffs claim the bank was negligent in complying with the Criminal Code of Canada by failing to take steps to ensure accounts and funds were not owned or operated by a listed terrorist group.
Yefet and Sappir say they now live in a “small and inadequate apartment,” are unable to replace their home and both suffer from psychological trauma and emotional distress.
The Shalmonis, who have three children, say they suffered damages to their personal property and the psychological stress of the bombing of their home and of their children’s school.