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Bank of China in New York sued by terror victims

By Sun Xiaobo  (Global Times)

08:51, October 25, 2012

The New York branch of the Bank of China (BOC) Wednesday denied all the accusations in a lawsuit filed in the US by the families of eight Israeli students killed in a 2008 terrorist attack in Jerusalem, an officer from the legal department with the branch confirmed to the Global Times.

The BOC was alleged by the Israelis to have "intentionally and recklessly" provided terrorist groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad with banking services. The lawsuit brought in the New York State court Tuesday seeks 1 billion dollars in compensation, the Dow Jones Newswires reported.

"The bank has always adhered to the regulations of China and other jurisdictions where the bank has branches. The bank's internal rules also forbid providing any financial services to terrorist groups," an officer with the legal department of the bank's New York branch told the Global Times. She said the bank had not been served with lawsuit documents.

The families accuse the BOC of making dozens of wire transfers from the Hamas leadership in Iran and Syria to Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank totaling several million dollars, the Newswires said, adding that the transfers were sent through the New York branch and an account in China.

"The money was used to carry out terrorist attacks," the Newswires reported.

The lawsuit brought by the parents of school children who were murdered by Islamist terrorists in Jerusalem in March 2008. Hamas admitted responsibility for the shootings, said the Tel Aviv-based civil right organization, Israel Law Center.

Israeli counterterrorism officers met with officials from China's Ministry of Public Security and the central bank in 2005, during which the Israelis demanded BOC stop making further wire transfers.

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