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A First in Anti Terror War: Iranian Banks Sued by Rocket Victims

Lawyers filing the first lawsuit by terror victims against Iran claim that Iranian banks transferred funds to support Hizbullah terrorists.
By Rachel Sylvetsky
First Publish: 2/17/2010, 10:09 AM / Last Update: 2/17/2010, 9:37 AM

For the first time, 85 Israeli citizens who were harmed by rocket attacks during the Second Lebanon War are suing Iranian banks.

The lawsuit, Kaplan v. Central Bank of Iran (CBI), names the Central Bank of Iran, Bank Saderat in Teheran and Bank Saderat PLC in London. Filed at the Federal Court in Washington, D.C., the plaintiffs demand damages of one billion dollars and an unspecified amount for punitive damages.

The plaintiffs include Israelis, Americans and Canadians whose relatives were killed or who themselves were wounded in the war. Their claim is that the above-mentioned banks are controlled by the Iranian government and that they provided Hizbullah terrorists with more than $50 million during the years prior to the war. This, they say, proves obvious intent
The plaintiffs base their claims on the findings of the American Department of the Treasury.
to aid the terrorist organization in its attacks on American and Israeli targets, as the money was used to plan and execute rocket fire that rained downed on Israeli cities during the war.

The plaintiffs base their claims on the findings of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, dated October 25, 2007, which state that Bank Saderat transferred funds for promoting terror to Hizbullah from the CBI through the PLC Saderat Bank in London during the years 2001-2006.

This is the first suit filed by terror victims against the Iranian banking system. The plaintiffs are represented by lawyers Robert Tolchen of New York and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Israel.

According to Darshan Leitner, "The Central Bank of Iran and Bank Saderat are the main monetary pipelines leading from Iran to Hizbullah. If not for these money transfers, Hizbullah would not have been able to erect and maintain its infrastructure, train the terrorists in its ranks, or execute the massive rocket attacks on Israel. These banks, whose activity in Europe is completely unrestrained, knowingly and purposefully aided and abetted Hizballah terror. They are responsible for the damage inflicted on citizens in these attacks. This is the first suit aimed at the Iranian banking system and will prove the massive funding Iran gave Hizbullah."

Attorney Tolchen added, "In the light of the clear findings of the U.S. Treasury Department, we do not expect any problems proving liability in this case."