Suit accuses UK bank of handling terror funds

September 29, 2006 00:30
1 minute read.

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing a British bank of knowingly providing financial services to charities linked to terrorists. The suit was filed against National Westminster Bank by American victims or relatives of victims of 10 terrorist attacks that occurred in Israel in 2002 and 2003. Eight of the plaintiffs were killed in the assaults, which were believed to be the work of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. The lawsuit accused NatWest of improperly doing business with a network of Islamic charities that may have funneled money to the families of suicide bombers or given other sorts of financial aid to Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the US government. US Judge Charles P. Sifton in Brooklyn on Wednesday dismissed one part of the suit but left standing two other sections accusing NatWest of providing material support to terrorist groups. NatWest's US lawyer, Lawrence Friedman, did not immediately return telephone and e-mail messages Thursday. He has previously called the families' attempt to hold the bank responsible for terrorist attacks "misguided." The bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, also has argued in court that a British commission had twice investigated the charity that is the main focus of the lawsuit, the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, and concluded it had no "pro-terrorist bias."

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