For Immediate Release       July 14, 2008

 

Contact: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner 212 591 0073

First American Correspondent Bank to be Sued for Aiding Terrorist
Organization Facing $650 Million in Damages

85 Victims of Hizbollah Terrorist Rocket Attacks File Unprecedented Civil
Suit Against American Express Bank in New York Court

Eighty five American, Israeli and Canadian victims of Hizbollah terror
attacks have filed an historic civil action in the New York Supreme Court
in Manhattan against American Express Bank Ltd. (“AMEX Bank”) and the
Lebanese-Canadian Bank SAL (“LCB”). The suit, Licci v. American Express
Bank, requests $650 million in compensatory damages and an unspecified sum
of punitive damages.

Amex Bank, headquartered in New York, serves as one of LCB’s correspondent
banks the United States, and in that capacity processes LCB’s dollar
transactions. LCB’s main office is in Beirut, and it has branches
throughout Lebanon and a branch in Canada.

The plaintiffs, whose family members were killed or who were themselves
injured by rocket attacks fired at northern Israel by Hizbollah in the
summer of 2006, allege that AMEX Bank and LCB unlawfully executed millions
of dollars in wire transfers for Hizbollah between 2004 and 2006. The
plaintiffs assert that Hizbollah used the funds transferred by Amex Bank
and LCB to prepare and carry out the rocket attacks which the terrorist
organization rained on Israeli cities between July 12 and August 14, 2006.

The plaintiffs rest their claims in part on written findings issued by the
New York State Banking Department last year, which determined that AMEX
Bank had failed to establish adequate procedures to prevent terrorism
financing as demanded by state and federal law. This is the first lawsuit
brought by terror victims against an U.S. financial institution that
serves as a correspondent for a bank in Lebanon.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Robert J. Tolchin Esq. of New
York City, and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq. of Israel.

Attorney Darshan-Leitner stated that: “Hizbollah is a financial giant
which is deeply entrenched in the Lebanese banking system. Any U.S. bank
that serves as correspondent for a Lebanese bank may well be aiding and
abetting Hizbollah terrorism, and runs the risk of serious civil
liability. U.S. correspondents for Lebanese banks owe it to themselves and
to their shareholders to carefully examine and re-evaluate their
relationships with banks in Lebanon.”

According to attorney Tolchin: “There will be more suits to come against
Lebanese banks and their U.S. correspondents.”

A copy of the complaint is available here:
www.snapdrive.net/public.php?action=download&id=33e970e810c4

For more information please contact: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner 212 591 0073

 

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