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US suit accuses Arab Bank of helping pay militants
Updated: 2004-07-07 10:29

Relatives of U.S. citizens killed or injured in violence in Israel have filed an $875 million lawsuit accusing Arab Bank of helping move money to families of suicide bombers, attorneys said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit accuses the bank and its New York branch of converting funds raised in Saudi Arabia into U.S. dollars and moving the money to branches in the West Bank and Gaza, where it is withdrawn by families of militants and by the militant group Hamas, Dallas-based attorney Mark Werbner said.

The suit was filed on behalf of a half dozen U.S. families on July 2 in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

Arab Bank, based in Amman, Jordan, where it is publicly traded, said it has not yet seen the complaint. The company said the lawsuit's "basic assertions are both completely false and totally irresponsible."

The lawsuit also claims the bank aids militant groups through accounts held in directly in their names.

One of the names on the lawsuit is Courtney Linde, widow of John Linde Jr., a former U.S. Marine killed by a roadside bomb while protecting U.S. diplomats in Gaza, Werbner said.

Also taking part in the lawsuit is the family of Eugene and Lorraine Goldstein of New York, who were shot in a car while visiting Israel last summer to attend a grandson's wedding.

The bank violates U.S. anti-terrorism laws by giving material support to known terrorist organizations, Werbner said.

"The banking industry is tightly regulated in the United States, Jordan and elsewhere throughout the world, and Arab Bank adheres stringently to those regulations," the company said in a statement.

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