On March 6, 2008, a member of the Hamas terrorist organization entered the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and opened fire on hundreds of students with an Ak-47 assault rifle. Eight high school and seminary students were murdered and many others were wounded.
Nearly four years later, families of Israeli students, murdered in the terror attack, have decided to file a billion-dollar lawsuit against the Bank of China (BOC) for intentionally providing banking services to Hamas through their New York City branch. The lawsuit was brought to the New York State Supreme Court by five families that I represent as plaintiffs.
Although US citizens usually have the only right to file lawsuits against those who sponsor and execute terror, we were able to make use of laws allowing foreigners to also sue in US courts in the case of terrorism.
We argue that starting in 2003, the state-owned Chinese bank executed dozens of wire transfers for Hamas totaling several million dollars. These transfers were initiated by the Hamas leadership in Iran and Syria, processed through BOC branches in the United States and sent on to a BOC account in China operated by a senior militant. From there, the funds were transferred to Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Despite demands from Israeli counter-terrorism officials to stop these wire transfers, the national bank, with Beijing’s approval, continued to wire funds for terrorism, all while declaring that they did not consider Hamas a terrorist group.
The Bank of China is just one example of how some financial institutions flaunt the requirements of U.S. anti-terrorism regulations. Banks that supply the lifeblood of terrorism must be shut down and penalized. The Chinese should not just be suspected of stealing intellectual property and patents, counterfeiting goods or hacking computers. They support terrorism and we expect the Beijing-controlled bank to now pay dearly.
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