China (yen) .
(photo credit:REUTERS/Jason Lee)
The plaintiffs, who include family members of victims of terrorist bombings and
rocket attacks carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in 2006 and
2007, are claiming that the Bank of China facilitated the attacks by providing
wire transfer services to both terror groups.
The group lawsuit, known as
the “Almaliakh action” after Emil Almaliakh, an Eilat resident killed in a
suicide bombing in 2007, has been filed with the assistance of Shurat Hadin, the
Israel Law Center and New York attorney Robert Tolchin.
Shurat Hadin head Nitsana Darshan-Leitner previously told The Jerusalem Post
that the case was setting a “huge precedent” for Israeli victims of terror since
it would permit non-US citizens to also sue in the US in terror
The US has designated both Islamic Jihad and Hamas as “Foreign
Terrorist Organizations” since 1997 and as “Specially Designated Global
Terrorists” since 2001. As such, both groups are subject to strict economic
sanctions intended to prevent them from conducting banking activities which help
them finance their attacks.
Those named in the lawsuit claim that the
Bank of China aided and abetted Hamas and Islamic Jihad since 2003 by providing
wire transfer services to operatives of the two groups via a bank account in
They allege that Hamas operatives received money to the account
from Hamas’s headquarters in Syria and then transferred it to
Between that date and January 2007, the Bank of China carried out
dozens of wire transfers for the two terror organizations, totaling several
Most of the transfers, which were initiated by the two
organizations’ leaderships including in Iran and Syria, were made to a single
account in Guangzhou, China, belonging to Said al- Shurafa, whom the plaintiffs
claim is a senior operative and agent of both Hamas and Islamic
According to information provided by the plaintiffs, Shurafa then
transferred the funds from his account to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas coffers in
the West Bank and Gaza “for the purpose of planning, preparing for and executing
The plaintiffs additionally claim that when officials
of the counterterrorism division of the Prime Minister’s Office warned the Bank
of China in April 2005 that the funds were being used to finance terror attacks,
and asked that they prevent further transfers, the Bank of China ignored the
“The Bank of China responded that Hamas is not considered a
terrorist organization in China,” added Darshan- Leitner.
also claim that the Bank of China should have known the funds were being used
illegally even before the Israeli government warning, because the transfers were
made in cash, mostly in the range of $100,000, and withdrawn
The plaintiffs are suing the Bank of China because they
claim that the bank’s assistance with the wire transfers is the proximate cause
of their injuries.
A previous attempt in July 2011 by Bank of China to
dismiss the case by arguing that it should be tried in China and not in the US
was unsuccessful as Judge Barbara R. Kapnick of the New York District Supreme
Court wrote that to dismiss the action in favor of it being tried in a Chinese
court would “only increase the hardship” of the plaintiffs.
the parties have been engaged to discovery which was starting to come to an end
when the current dispute over the Israeli government official being deposed
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