Arab bank in jordan 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Gary Osen did not always think that practicing law would mean an all-out
decade long struggle against Arab Bank, Jordan’s largest bank and one of the
largest in the Middle East.
Osen is the unofficial lead plaintiffs’
lawyer in what, on January 13, will be the first terror-financing case against a
bank to go to trial in the US. The case involves major transfers of funds to
Asked how he fell into the legal world of terror finance after
years of dealing with reparations for victims of the Nazis, Osen said that while
some of the details were highly personal, one of his neighbors was killed on
9/11, and after the victim’s family turned to him for legal help he never looked
Osen took trouble to clarify that there were up to 15 other lawyers
and five paralegals from four other law firms involved (the single trial will
include what technically are separate cases on similar issues), and that there
has been significant cooperation.
He added that while he has been lead
counsel, having spent significant time learning the voluminous banking details
involved, others among the lawyers involved can take the lead at any given
Asked how that many lawyers could keep up a decade-long legal
battle with a massive bank, he noted that unlike another major terror finance
player, Shurat Hadin–Israel Law Center, his firm had no private fundraising. Its
“take” of about one-third of the damages would be contingent on
Osen and the others no doubt were helped in July 2010, when they
won $1,332,268.50 in pretrial fees and expenses from Arab Bank, which had
refused to turn over documents the court had ordered produced to the
Osen told about his travels to Amman to take testimony from
representatives of Arab Bank.
“We did have private security and did not
stroll around the city the way lawyers typically do when they’re taking
depositions in other cities,” he said.
One thing that struck him from his
Jordan travels was the news.
“Every morning we would get the Jordan Times
at the hotel, and the newspaper was always filled with nothing but good news
(‘the Queen received an award from...’ or ‘the Emir’s visit was a rousing
success’),” he said. “It was jarring, but slightly amusing, to arrive in Tel
Aviv after a week in Amman and find the newspapers filled with almost
inclusively bad news and criticism of the government.”