Osen LLC in the News
Big banks believe that lawsuits alleging that they are financing terrorism cause "de-risking," and the banks are warning that this is a bad development. What are they talking about?
De-risking is jargon for pulling out of places—perhaps the Palestinian territories or Somalia—where doing business has led to regulatory penalties and/or lawsuits. As government agencies and plaintiffs' attorneys have increasingly accused international banks of engaging in money laundering and financing terrorists, some banks have cut ties to clients in the Middle East and Africa.
Banks describe de-risking as a way to limit exposure to U.S. government fines and court liability. The banks further claim that the trend has resulted in a scarcity of banking services for poor people who depend on remittances from relatives in the West and for nongovernmental organizations devoted to humanitarian causes. Further, the banks assert that cutting off troubled regions from the international financial system will result in more—not less—crime and terrorism.
A judge has refused to upset a jury verdict that found Arab Bank civilly liable for the material support of Hamas during the Second Intifada.
"The verdict was based on volumes of damning circumstantial evidence that the defendant knew its customers were terrorists," Eastern District Judge Brian Cogan wrote in a 96-page decision released Wednesday, denying most of the bank's bid for judgment as a matter of law and rebuffing a request for a retrial.
Steven Vincent had just left a money exchange in the southern Iraqi city of Basra when a group of men in police uniforms drove up in a white truck and grabbed him and his translator. It was Aug. 2, 2005. Vincent, a freelance American journalist, had reported on the war for two-and-a-half years. British troops occupied Basra, but he operated without an embed arrangement. British and Iraqi authorities later found Vincent on the outskirts of the city shot dead. The Iraqi translator survived.
“Switched Off in Basra,” in which he described the infiltration of the local police by Iranian-backed Islamic extremists. “Steven was executed for what he wrote,” says his widow, Lisa Ramaci. She’s set up a foundation in his name that donates money to the families of Iraqis injured or killed because of their work with U.S. journalists. And Ramaci did something else. In November she joined a lawsuit on behalf of relatives of U.S. soldiers and civilians who’ve died in Iraq as a result of violence linked to Iranian-backed militias and terrorist groups.
The suit, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., seeks hundreds of millions of dollars not from death squads, whose members aren’t likely to show up with lawyers in tow. Instead, it targets five of the largest banks in the world: HSBC, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Standard Chartered, and Royal Bank of Scotland. “Defendants,” the suit declares, “committed acts of international terrorism.” The suit, known as Freeman v. HSBC, takes its name from lead plaintiff Charlotte Freeman, whose husband, Brian, an Army captain, died in a Jan. 20, 2007, attack by Iranian-trained militants in Karbala, Iraq.
A five-car convoy opened fire on a compound 30 miles south of Baghdad, a sneak attack that killed four American soldiers in one of the deadliest days in the Iraq war. A roadside bomb struck a United States military vehicle, severing part of a soldier’s head. And a militant group kidnapped and killed an American journalist, dumping him in the street after firing three shots into his chest.
Those acts of terrorism occurred a world away from Wall Street at the height of the Iraq war. But they now underpin a lawsuit against some of the world’s biggest banks, injecting a human element into the complex and shadowy world of international finance.
Suit Alleges Institutions Helped Iran Move Millions of Dollars to Groups Targeting GIs in Iraq - More than 200 veterans and their families filed a lawsuit Monday accusing six major banks of helping Iran move tens of millions of dollars to groups targeting U.S. soldiers in Iraq during the war.
Barclays Plc (BARC) and HSBC Holdings Plc were among six banks sued by U.S. soldiers and their relatives over claims they helped Iran process billions of dollars in transactions and support terrorists who attacked them while serving in Iraq.
Lenders including Standard Chartered Bank (STAN), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Royal Bank of Scotland NV allegedly conspired with Iran and its banks to withhold data from transactions, enabling them to circumvent monitoring by U.S. regulators, according to a complaint filed today in Brooklyn, New York, federal court. The scheme dates to 1987, the soldiers claim.
The families of dozens of American soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq are suing five international banks of conspiring with Iran to evade U.S. sanctions and provide material support to terrorist groups. They’re represented by lawyer Gary Oser, who recently won a jury verdict that found Arab Bank liable for 24 Hezbollah terrorist attacks in Israel.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wounded U.S. veterans and family members of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq sued five European banks on Monday, seeking to hold them responsible for shootings and roadside bombings because they allegedly processed Iranian money that paid for the attacks.
As a federal jury debates whether Jordan’s largest bank provided assistance to Hamas, a New York federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit filed by victims of the group against a UK bank.
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a federal district judge got it wrong when she threw out legal claims by about 200 U.S. victims of Hamas attacks who claimed that National Westminster Bank NWBD.LN +0.96% PLC provided banking services to a London-based charity with alleged ties to the group.
The lawsuit, which the Second Circuit sent back to federal trial court in Brooklyn, was filed under the Antiterrorism Act, a 1990 law that gives victims of international terrorism recourse in U.S. courts.
The ruling came as jurors in the same federal trial court were deliberating similar claims against Arab Bank PLC, which is accused by victims of Hamas attacks of routing compensation from Saudi donors to the families of suicide bombers and provided banking services to Hamas leaders and charities allegedly controlled by the group.
By denying certiorari last week in Linde v. Arab Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for a terrorism finance case to begin trial on Aug. 11. About 300 U.S. citizens who were injured or lost a relative in the second Palestinian intifada allege that Arab Bank funneled "martyr payments" to families of suicide bombers, and they're seeking to hold Jordan's leading bank liable under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act. Is it possible the trial will really happen?