SHAFFER v. DEUTSCHE BANK
Osen LLC (together with Turner & Associates, P.A. and Dowd & Dowd, P.C.) represents families of American soldiers who were victims of Iranian-supported terrorism in Iraq. The case, captioned Shaffer v. Deutsche Bank, was filed in federal district court in the Southern District of Illinois. The Complaint alleges that Deutsche Bank affirmatively participated in a criminal conspiracy with Iran and its agents to alter, falsify, or omit information from payment messages they directed through accounts in the United States on behalf of Iran and Iranian-controlled banks such as Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, for the ultimate benefit of Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Shaffer is the first lawsuit filed against Deutsche Bank, seeking to hold this leading international bank accountable for its illegal dealings with Iran. The Complaint alleges that Deutsche Bank joined a conspiracy whose aims and objectives included:
- Concealing Iran’s financial activities and transactions from detection, scrutiny, or monitoring by U.S. regulators, law enforcement, and/or depository institutions;
- Facilitating illicit transactions totaling at least $50 million U.S. dollars for Hezbollah’s benefit;
- Facilitating illicit transactions totaling at least $100 million U.S. dollars for the IRGC’s benefit; and
- Enabling Iran and its agents to perpetrate the acts of international terrorism that injured the plaintiffs in this case.
Deutsche Bank entered into a Consent Order with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and admitted that its employees worked with sanctioned Iranian customers to conceal the details about their payments and distributed written instructions to ensure that illegal Iranian payments could safely clear the United States without detection.
What The Law Can Do
The Deutsche Bank case has been brought pursuant to a private civil remedy provision of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2333(a). Congress enacted this provision both as a counter-terrorism deterrent and as a means of affording remedies to U.S. nationals victimized by terrorism. It permits Americans physically or financially injured by reason of an act of international terrorism and/or their surviving family members, to sue in federal court, enabling them to recover three times their damages. In 2017, Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, further strengthening the ATA in its effort to “provide civil litigants with the broadest possible basis, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, to seek relief against persons, entities, and foreign countries, wherever acting and wherever they may be found, that have provided material support, directly or indirectly, to foreign organizations or persons that engage in terrorist activities against the United States.”
On December 7, 2017, Chief Judge Michael J. Reagan granted Deutsche Bank’s motion to dismiss, and dismissed the case. Plaintiff has filed its notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
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