The lawsuit, which was brought to the New York State Supreme Court, is on behalf of five families who lost loved ones in the shooting attack. The suit, Rot v. Bank of China, seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the victims.
On March 6, 2008, a member of the Islamic terrorist organization entered the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and opened fire on hundreds of students with an Ak-47 assault rifle. Eight high school and seminary students were murdered and many others were wounded.
"Usually, US citizens have the right to file lawsuits against those who sponsor and execute terror. In this suit, we were able to make use of laws allowing non-Americans to also sue in US courts in the case of terrorism," explained Darshan-Leitner.
The plaintiffs allege that starting in 2003, the national Chinese bank executed dozens of wire transfers for Hamas totaling several million dollars. These transfers were initiated by the Hamas leadership in Iran and Syria, processed through BOC branches in the United States and sent on to a BOC account in China operated by a senior militant. From there, the funds were transferred to Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
In April 2005, Israeli counterterrorism officers met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and China’s Central Bank. The Israelis demanded that the Chinese officials take action to prevent the BOC from making any further such wire transfers. "Despite these warnings the state-owned bank, with Beijing's approval, continued to wire funds for terrorism, all while declaring that they did not consider Hamas a terrorist group," stressed Darshan-Leitner.
According to the complaint: "Most of these wire transfers were made to account #4750401-0188-150882-6 at a Bank of China branch in Guangzhou, China, in the name of `S.Z.R Al-Shurafa.' The owner of the account, Said al-Shurafa, is a senior officer and agent of both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad."
The US has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization since 1997 and as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” since 2001. As such, Hamas is subject to strict economic sanctions intended to prevent it from conducting banking activities that help finance their attacks.
“The Bank of China is just one example of how some financial institutions flaunt the requirements of U.S. anti-terrorism regulations,” said Darshan-Leitner. “Banks that supply the lifeblood of terrorism must be shut down and penalized. The Chinese should not just be suspected of stealing intellectual property and patents, counterfeiting goods or hacking computers. They support terrorism and we expect the Beijing-controlled bank to now pay dearly."
Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center is a Tel Aviv-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.
Shurat HaDin has succeeded in winning more than $1 billion in judgments, freezing more than $600 million in terrorist assets and in collecting $120 million in actual payments to the victims and their families. In May, the counter-terror group won a $332 million dollar judgment against Syria and Iran in the US district court for Washington DC. The center represented the family of an American teen killed in a 2006 Tel Aviv bombing.
View complaint here
For more information (including a need for visuals, documentation, etc.):
Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center
10 Hata'as St., Ramat Gan