Israel Law Center..
23 October '12..
(New York, NY) The families of Israeli high school students, murdered in a March 2008 terrorist shooting in Jerusalem have filed a civil action against China’s banking giant, The Bank of China (BOC), for intentionally and recklessly providing banking services through their New York City branch to terrorist groups Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), their lawyers announced today.
“The Bank of China is just one example of how some financial institutions flaunt the requirements of the U.S. anti-terrorism regulations,” said the plaintiffs' attorney Nitsana Darshan- Leitner. “These banks that supply the lifeblood of terrorism must be shut down and penalized. The answer is simple, cut off the avenues purportedly upstanding banks use to front for terror and paralyze terrorist transactions, restrict the ability of PIJ and Hamas to illegally transfer funds, and massively reduce terrorist activity.”
“BOC knowingly assisted Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to carry out terrorist attacks with the full approval of the Chinese government, and rejected requests by the Israeli government to cease and desist. BOC even had the chutzpah to make these funds transfers through its U.S. branches right under the nose of the U.S. Justice Department, despite the fact that Hamas and the PIJ are designated terrorist organizations and that such wire transfers are a crime under American law. We expect BOC to now pay very heavily for its support for terrorism.”
The plaintiffs allege in their civil complaint that starting in 2003, BOC executed dozens of wire transfers for Hamas totaling several million dollars. These dollar transfers were initiated by Hamas leadership in Iran and Syria, were processed through BOC’s branches in the United States and were sent on to a BOC account in China operated by a senior operative of Hamas. From there, the funds were transferred to Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip and West Bank and used to carry out terrorist attacks.
In April 2005, Israeli counterterrorism officers met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and China’s Central Bank regarding these Hamas wire transfers. The Israelis demanded that the Chinese officials take action to prevent BOC from making any further such transfers. Despite the Israeli warnings, the BOC – with the Chinese government’s approval – continued to wire terrorist funds for the Hamas.
According to the complaint: "Most of these wire transfers were made to account number 4750401-0188-150882-6 at a Bank of China branch in Guanzhou, China, in the name of `S.Z.R Alshurafa.' The owner of the account, Said al-Shurafa (“Shurafa”) is a senior officer and agent both of Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization."
Hamas has been on the United States Foreign Terrorist Organization list since 1997 and the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list since 2001; thereby restricting their interaction with a United States based corporation or citizen. The suit is being represented by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin –Israel Law Center in Tel-Aviv and Robert J. Tolchin, Esq. of New York.
The Bank of China, which has branches in the United States, refused to heed warnings that Al- Shurafa was a Hamas operative channeling funds to the terrorist organization in Gaza and the West Bank through its New York City branch. These transactions are in severe violation of the United States anti-terrorism regulations and international law and, the BOC, must therefore be held accountable.
Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center is an Israeli based civil right organization and world leader in combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world. Fighting for the rights of hundreds of terror victims, Shurat HaDin seeks to bankrupt the terror groups and grind their criminal activities to a halt - one lawsuit at a time.