Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Other Banks Face Terror Lawsuit

By Chris Bruce

Units of Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, and other global banks were sued Nov. 9 by U.S. servicemembers and their relatives who said the banks helped Iran evade economic sanctions and fund terrorist groups.

The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York also named Commerzbank, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Crédit Agricole, and Credit Suisse ( O’Sullivan v. Deutsche Bank AG , S.D.N.Y., 17-cv-08709, complaint filed 11/9/17 ).

The plaintiffs, who are servicemembers or families of servicemembers injured or killed in terrorist attacks in Iraq between 2003 and 2011, said Iran, its agents and proxies, used U.S. currency “knowingly provided to them by Defendants to fund the very Terrorist Groups who perpetrated the Terrorist Attacks which killed or injured Plaintiffs.”

“Without the material support provided by Defendants to Iran and its Agents and Proxies, the Terrorist Groups would not have been able to carry out such Terrorist Attacks on the scale and with the lethality in which they were perpetrated,” the suit said.

The suit was brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 and the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act of 2016. Deutsche Bank spokesman Lawton King declined to comment, as did Julie Gibson of Standard Chartered.

HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman said HSBC has “the utmost respect” for service personnel and their families. “We are committed to combating financial crime and have taken strict steps to help keep terrorists and other bad actors out of the global financial system,” Sherman said in an email to Bloomberg Law. Spokespersons for other banks named in the suit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plaintiffs are represented by Seth A. Katz of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine in Englewood, Colo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bruce in Washington at cbruce@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at MFerullo@bna.com

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