Friday, February 25, 2005

US Suspends Wire Transfers for Bank Linked to Suicide Bombers

The New York branch the Jordan-based Arab Bank Group has effectively had its wire transfer business ended by being at the order of the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency according to a story in The Daily Star (Lebanon):
A U.S. bank regulator has ordered Palestinian-managed Arab Bank Group to convert its New York branch to a federal banking agency, ending the bank's wire transfer business.

Arab Bank, by far the largest bank operating in the Palestinian territories, has had several lawsuits brought against it on behalf of relatives of U.S. citizens killed or injured in violence in the Middle East, accusing the bank of helping move money to families of suicide bombers.
According to an earlier story in the Arab Bank claimed to be unaware that its branches were being used to transfer money to the families of suicide bombers.
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Arab Bank Plc didn't know payments made by a Saudi charity through the bank's branches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were going to the families of suicide bombers, said Shukry Bishara, Arab Bank's chief banking officer.

The Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al-Quds used Arab Bank to make at least six payments of 20,000 Saudi riyals ($5,332) each to relatives of bombers and gunmen, according to two lawsuits filed in the U.S. by the families of those who died in the attacks. The charity has raised more than $100 million to aid Palestinians injured in the conflict with Israel.
Relatives of September 11th victims are seeking $2 billion in damages from Arab Bank.