Most of us only see the end result of terrorism: the hijacking, the kidnapping, or the bombing. We do not realize everything that occurs in the weeks, months or even years before such a heinous act. A critical aspect of any attack is the funding behind it. Whether it’s wire transfers or letters of credit, terrorists have to use the banking system just like anyone else, which begs the question: When someone is injured or killed in a terrorist attack, what share of the responsibility should a bank that helped pay for it bear?
That’s the question at the heart of a civil lawsuit filed in late 2014 by a group of wounded Iraqi war veterans and Gold Star families against seven EU banks. The suit requests damages, charging that the banks are responsible for various shootings and roadside bombings because “they processed Iranian money that paid for the attacks.” The lawsuit claims the financial institutions “conspired” with their Iranian counterparts to hide financial transactions from the United States, which had imposed sanctions on the country. The suit charges that the banks channeled more than $100 million to Iranian military operatives in Iraq and helped facilitate the funding of hundreds of terrorist attacks in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. These foreign banks already admitted wrongdoing and agreed to $3.2 billion in payouts to the U.S. government in exchange for delayed prosecution for violating sanctions against Iran and other countries.
Burg Simpson is a part of a consortium of several law firms that have banded together for the purpose of seeking justice for victims of terrorism. The consortium has created a unified web page with additional information and instruction on how to find out if you or a loved one qualify to join the lawsuit. Please click here: Iraq War Fund™
Terrorist Acts Drive Legislation
In 1990, Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, making it illegal to intentionally provide support for terrorist activities and organizations. The law also allowed victims of “an act of international terrorism” to file a civil suit in a federal court. The legislation originated during the aftermath of a pair of PLO terrorist attacks: the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking in 1985 and the Pan Am flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
Little was made of this law for years, mostly because for someone to file suit successfully, the accused terrorist organization had to be located in, or have material assets in, the United States. However, the terrorist attacks that shook the nation on Sept. 11, 2001, changed that. Plaintiffs began suing banks who “helped” terrorist groups by doing business with them in an attempt to push past the original parameters of the ATA.
Law Firms Take on Banks
Burg Simpson is one of several law firms that have banded together to take this fight to some of the world’s largest financial institutions. Gavriel Mairone, the founder of MM-Law, is leading the charge. MM-Law, based in Chicago, is a law firm dedicated to advancing human rights by representing victims of terrorism, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Burg Simpson has been fighting for victims’ rights for more than 40 years and taking on major corporations, including pharmaceutical companies, insurance carriers, and medical device manufacturers.
The lawsuit, filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act in U.S. District Court in New York, names the following banks:
- Barclays PLC: In August 2010, Barclays surrendered $298 million to the United States because it “knowingly and willfully moved or permitted to be moved hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of banks from Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma.”
- BNP Paribas S.A.: In June 2014, BNP Paribas signed a deferred prosecution agreement in exchange for surrendering $8.9 billion.
- Commerzbank A.G.: Commerzbank A.G. paid $392 million in fines to defer prosecution.
- Credit Suisse: In December 2009, Credit Suisse forfeited $536 million – the largest deferred prosecution agreement at the time.
- HSBC Holding Group PLC: This London bank and its subsidiaries topped Credit Suisse’s record forfeiture when they agreed to a $1.256 billion penalty as part of their deferred prosecution agreement in December 2012.
- Standard Chartered Bank: The 2012 settlement between this London bank and the U.S. government included $227 million in fines.
If you are a wounded Iraqi war veteran, or a surviving family member of a soldier lost in the war, you could have a case. Burg Simpson is working with a consortium of seven other law firms in filing claims against these banks. For more information, or to be considered for a claim, visit Iraq War Fund™.
Soldiers Still Battle PTSD After Return
All war injuries are not readily visible. Many soldiers return from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health problem some develop after experiencing or witnessing life-threatening events, such as the horrors of combat. Actual combat injuries, whether they are from explosions or gunshots, can also lead to PTSD.
It is common for veterans to suffer upsetting memories, possess feelings of tension or insomnia after returning from deployment. It can be difficult to return to normal daily activities, such as work, school, or social activities. Most veterans start feeling better after a few weeks or months, but if it lasts longer and symptoms linger, it could be PTSD.
PTSD symptoms can include:
Flashbacks. These include bad memories or nightmares. These flashbacks can make soldiers feel like they are going through the event again.
Avoidance. PTSD sufferers often try to avoid situations or people that might trigger memories of the traumatic event. They may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
Increased negativity. Veterans may feel guilt or shame, or, a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. They might exhibit numbness, unhappiness, and distrust.
Hyperarousal. These symptoms can include increased alertness, jittery feelings, and a constant need to be on the lookout for danger. This can also include a struggle with concentration and/or sleeping.
CONTACT THE EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS AT BURG SIMPSON
Active and veteran service members, as well as civilian contractors, injured in Iraq during 2003-2011 by Iranian-funded combat or terrorist actions, might be eligible for compensation. Additional potential claimants include surviving family members and dependents of those who lost their lives as a result of these actions.
This alliance of law firms is working together to file claims under the ATA against these banks, which unlawfully helped financially facilitate these acts of terrorism during the war. To begin the claimant process – and find out if you qualify – visit Iraq War Fund™ today.
Listen to Attorney David TeSelle discuss terrorism and a call to action on legislative fixes to JASTA in light of the terror attacks in Israel, recorded with KPOW in WY on November 15, 2023.