Arab Bank released the following statement in response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision denying the Bank’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC. The Bank’s petition asked the Court to review whether the Second Circuit Court of Appeals erred when it failed to vacate trial sanctions imposed on it by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lower court ordered the sanctions because the Bank complied with the privacy laws in force in other countries where it operates. The Bank argued that the Second Circuit’s decision was in conflict with Supreme Court decisions and disregarded principles of international comity and due process.
“The unwillingness of the Supreme Court to review this interim appeal is not a determination on the merits of the case pending against Arab Bank. Plaintiffs must still prove their case, and any judgment is subject to appeal. In fact, the Solicitor General expressed the view of the United States in his amicus brief that the district court ‘erred in several significant respects’ in sanctioning the Bank for its adherence to foreign bank privacy laws and that the flawed analysis underlying the sanctions order will be subject to ‘close scrutiny on appeal of a final judgment.’ As the Solicitor General noted, ‘although the sanctions appear broad on their face their precise scope will be determined by their implementation at trial through jury instructions and evidentiary rulings.’ In essence, the district court could reconsider or modify the sanctions order through its implementation by considering the views of the United States set forth in the amicus brief.
“The Solicitor General outlined the serious consequences that the sanctions could have, writing, ‘[t]he sanctions order could undermine the United States’ vital interests in maintaining close cooperative relationships… in the fight against terrorism’ and deter foreign-government partners ‘from facilitating cooperation with government requests if their financial institutions may later have that cooperation weighed against them in private litigation.’
“The Bank believes that the full evidentiary record in this case – which may be withheld from the jury because of the sanctions order – demonstrates it did not cause or provide material support for the tragic acts described by plaintiffs. The facts show that Arab Bank provided routine banking services in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in all of the jurisdictions where it operates. In a related case (Mati Gill v. Arab Bank, PLC), largely based on the same evidentiary record as Linde, Senior Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District Court rejected the very same sanctions and dismissed the case on summary judgment, finding that ‘the evidence does not prove that the Bank acted with an improper state of mind or proximately caused plaintiffs’ injury.’”
The Solicitor General’s brief describes Arab Bank as “a constructive partner with the United States in working to prevent terrorist financing,” and “a leading participant in a number of regional forums on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.”
Arab Bank is confident it will ultimately prevail in this case.