A Brooklyn federal judge has upheld a jury verdict finding Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorist attacks that killed or injured Americans in Israel from 2001 to 2004.
In his 96-page decision, Judge Brian Cogan said there was “ample” evidence for the jury to conclude last Sept. 22 that Arab Bank knew or was “willfully blind” to the fact that it was providing services to Hamas, which carried out the attacks, and routed money to charities that supported Hamas or families of Hamas suicide bombers.
"The verdict was based on volumes of damning circumstantial evidence that defendant knew its customers were terrorists," Cogan concluded.
The judge also zeroed in on the testimony of Hamas terrorist mastermind Abbas Al-Sayyed.
“The Al-Sayyed confession is a rare, possibly unique, piece of evidence,” he wrote. “A terrorist, who has been convicted in a court of law both of planning a terrorist attack in which some plaintiffs were injured and of leading a Hamas terrorist cell, specifically tells the police that he used money transferred to his Arab Bank account from abroad to further Hamas ‘military activities.’”
Cogan then dismissed the bank’s assertion that this confession was “still not enough because the terrorist stated that he used those funds to purchase rifles rather than bombs.”
About 300 Americans filed the suit, including those injured in 24 attacks or representing family members of those killed or injured. The judge dismissed two of the claims stemming from two of the attacks, citing a lack of proof that Hamas was responsible for the attacks.
Cogan’s decision now clears the way for a new trial to be held July 13 to determine monetary damages Arab Bank must pay the plaintiffs.
In a similar case earlier this year against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, a Manhattan federal judge found both groups liable Feb. 23 for supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004. They were ordered to pay $655.5 million – reflecting triple damages. An appeal is expected.