Thursday, August 21, 2008

Israeli Terror Victims Sue Bank of China for Millions

By Gilad Slonim & Dalia Harpaz
Epoch Times Israel staff Aug 21, 2008
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Israeli victims of terror demand millions from the Bank of China claiming it knowingly funded Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists responsible for their losses.

(Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)
A lawsuit representing a hundred victims of terror in Israel and their families was filed in Los Angeles on August 21 against the Bank of China for knowingly funding Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist activities. The plaintiffs are demanding a compensation of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Amongst the plaintiffs are the parents of 17-year-old Ayala Abuksis, who was injured while trying to shield her brother from a Kassam missile that exploded near their house in the town of Sderot two years ago. The missile was fired from the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanoun. Ayala died of her wounds a few days later.

"We will sue all who had a hand in murdering our daughter. Whoever aided those killers and terrorists will have to pay for it," said her father, Yonathan Abuksis.

According to the charges, the Bank of China transferred regularly, over a period of time, amounts of about US$100,000 to the private bank account of a senior Hamas official located China. The latter used the money to buy merchandise which he shipped to Gaza. In Gaza, this merchandise was resold by senior Hamas officials and the profit was used to fund terrorist activities.

According to the plaintiffs and their attorney Nitzana, the Israeli government notified the Bank of China of the use Hamas was making of the money and demanded the bank of China to stop the transfers. Darshan-Leitner claims to have evidence proving this.

The victims' families also approached the Bank of China in January, sending information by direct correspondence as well as through the director of the bank's New York branch. After the Bank of China repeatedly failed to reply to their messages, the families turned to a US court.

The plaintiffs claim that since the Bank of China has a branch in the U.S., U.S. courts have power of attorney to handle the case under a U.S. law that forbids funding terrorist activities.

"U.S. courts consider the rules of evidence without employing any political favoritism," Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner told The Epoch Times. "So if we succeed in proving our claims—and I am fairly certain that we will—the bank will be ordered to pay the plaintiffs millions of dollars in compensation. Moreover, this will open a door for others who have been victims of terrorist activity which originated in Gaza during the relevant time period, and they, too, will be able to demand compensation from the Bank of China," said Leitner.

At the time of publication, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not available to comment.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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