U.S. top court turns away Arab Bank appeal

File - The Arab Bank is seen in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (The Daily Star/Grace Kassab)

WASHINGTON: The United States Supreme court Monday left intact a lower court ruling that requires Jordan-based Arab Bank PLC to supply documents in lawsuits accusing it of providing services to groups the United States brands as terrorist organizations.

The court rejected Arab Bank’s appeal of a U.S. federal judge’s ruling against it for failing to turn over the documents.

Plaintiffs accuse the bank of providing banking services to front groups for Hamas and other militant groups the United States has put on its list of terrorist organizations.

Arab Bank said that the judge’s ruling was forcing it to choose between running afoul of the United States court and violating bank secrecy laws in Jordan, Lebanon and other countries.

The lawsuits were brought by U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who were the victims or the family members of victims of attacks blamed on Hamas in Israel and the Palestinian territories between 1994 and 2005.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit court of Appeals in January 2013 upheld the decision by U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon, who ruled that a jury could take into account the fact the bank had withheld certain documents when reaching a verdict.

The Obama administration had urged the court not to hear the case.

In court filings, Arab Bank cited a U.S. district judge it says ruled on the same evidence in another case that there was no proof that anything but routine financial services were provided to charities alleged to be front organizations.

That judge found that many of the same entities received grants from the U.S. government when they held accounts with Arab Bank, the filings said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 01, 2014, on page 5.




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