U.S. high court asks Obama administration’s view on bank secrecy

October 21, 2013
David Ingram and Lawrence Hurley

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the Obama administration to weigh in on a case that raises whether bank secrecy laws protect Arab Bank Plc from turning over documents in lawsuits in U.S. courts.

The high court, which is considering whether to hear the case, made the request to the Justice Department’s Office of the Solicitor General.

The Jordan-based bank is challenging a federal judge’s ruling against it for failing to turn over documents in lawsuits in which the bank is accused of providing banking services to Hamas and other militant groups the United States labels as terrorist organizations.

Arab Bank said judge’s ruling was forcing it to choose between running afoul of the U.S. court or violating bank secrecy laws in Lebanon, Jordan and other countries.

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