Story link Courthouse News Service By NICK DIVITO
Closing Statements in Arab Bank Trial
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - Arab Bank "did what it was required to do" and
isn't liable for 24 recent Hamas-sponsored suicide attacks in the West
Bank, a defense lawyer said Thursday during closing arguments in the
landmark jury trial.
"The bank isn't supposed to run around and
figure out" who's on a backlist, attorney Shand Stephens told a jury in
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan's high-rise courtroom. "That's what the
government does. And you wouldn't want it any other way."
Stephens presented the bank's closing arguments after a six-week trial stemming
from a decade-old federal class action lawsuit filed by families of 300
victims of two dozen separate Hamas-led suicide attacks in the West Bank
during the Second Intifada between 2000 and 2004.
|Plaintiff attorney Tad Turner gives closing statement, large photo of Sheikh Yassin lower right corner|
Tab Turner, who represents the families, countered during his closing
this afternoon that Arab Bank served as "'The Bank of the Stars' in the
world of terrorism." He said it made $2 billion off terrorism in the
year 2003 alone.
The jury should "step up to the plate and say not any more ... it stops right here in Brooklyn," Turner said.
bank was the only bank making money off the terrorists," the attorney
continued. "They're not interested in truth. They're interested in
protecting their pocket book. That is the power that you have: to tell
other banks, 'Don't you dare do business with these people. You do, and
you will pay.'
Why the Arab Bank terror-finance trial matters
From the Reuters story, link above
The four lawyers who spoke Thursday for the plaintiffs in the Arab Bank case assured them that it can – that the message they send with their verdict will force international banks to do more than check wire transfers against terrorism blacklists. If jurors find Arab Bank liable for processing about $73 million that allegedly propped up Hamas operations in the Second Intifada, the lawyers said, banks around the world will be on notice that they’re responsible for actively policing against financing terror.
“We all have a role to play, to prevent terrorism, every one of us,” said Michael Elsner of Motley Rice. “We are interlinked, interdependent. We need to be together to stop this. It just can’t be that we can only act when a government says, ‘You have to act now.’ It can’t be that we only do it when the computer gives us an alert.”