December 12, 2007
Two of Israel’s biggest banks are mired in a court battle over allegations that they conducted transactions that ultimately benefited Hamas and its affiliates.
Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank are facing charges in New York federal court that they violated American anti-terrorism finance laws by allegedly serving as a conduit for Hamas. The accusations come from the Arab Bank of Jordan, which was first accused of similar charges and is now striking back by throwing the charges at the Israeli banks.
The Israeli banks “initiated or substantially participated in many of the very same acts and transactions complained of by the plaintiffs and had at least equal if not greater opportunity than Arab Bank to know of the alleged wrongful nature of such acts and transactions,” the Arab Bank said in its complaint.
On November 30, the Israeli banks jointly filed motions to dismiss the Arab Bank’s complaint, claiming that the Arab Bank had failed to provide evidence of the Israeli banks’ intent to support terrorism-related entities. But in September, it was revealed that nearly three-quarters of a million dollars made its way from Israel Discount Bank to Hamas’s main armed group.
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