A lawsuit filed last year against 12 Lebanese banks alleged to knowingly provide material support to Hezbollah is now moving forward, threatening to unravel the secrets of Lebanon’s banking sector.
The complaint, filed by over 350 families of American victims of terrorist attacks in Iraq between 2004 and 2011, claims that the 12 Lebanese banks helped Hezbollah access the United States’ financial system.
It also claims that the banks knowingly assisted Hezbollah in its “illicit activities, including money laundering, sanctions evasion, arms export violations, drug trafficking, kidnapping for ransom, and terrorist financing.”
The banks involved in the lawsuit are:
Société Générale De Banque Au Liban SAL (SGBL)
Lebanon & Gulf Bank (LGB)
Banque Libano-Francaise (BLF)
Bank of Beirut
Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries (BBAC)
Jammal Trust Bank (JTB)
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the banks can be subject to civil liability under the Anti-Terrorism Act which prohibits financing terrorism.
Recently, however, the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) slammed the lawsuit saying it was “devoid of credibility.”
Earlier this year, the banks filed a joint reply calling for the dismissal of the case as they claim it baseless. The banks also cited similarities between this complaint and previously dismissed complaints against Lebanese banks.
The suit, referred to as the Société Générale (SGBL) Case, was filed in the Brooklyn, NY federal district court by a law firm called Osen LLC.
“We’re pleased that the Court has decided to allow the case to proceed and we’re hopeful that evidence ultimately collected and disclosed in this case will not only vindicate the plaintiffs’ specific claims against these defendants but will also empower those who seek to genuinely reform Lebanon’s banking system,” the firm told The961.