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Unpaid US terror victims seeking enforcement of $67m. judgment against Iran demand full disclosure of the company's controversial deal with Tehran.
Two months after an Israeli legal rights NGO warned US-based Boeing that it will place liens on its planes if it followed through with a since completed deal with Iran, a Chicago federal court is asking US Donald Trump to decide if Boeing must disclose details of the controversial transaction.
In July, Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center, which represents hundreds of families of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism holding billions of dollars in unsatisfied US court judgments, said Iran must first be forced to satisfy its debts before it can purchase the planes.
Iran does not have reachable assets in the United States, but as a result of 2015’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also known as the “Iran Deal”) entered into by the Obama Administration, Iran is in the process of purchasing billions of dollars of aircraft from Boeing.
Following the Iran Deal, a motion was filed by the Leibovitch family – which holds an unpaid $67 million judgment against Iran relating to a 2003 terror attack in which their seven-year-old child was killed and other family members were severely wounded – to freeze any assets owned by Iran that might be in Boeing's possession.
However, earlier this month Ruben Castillo, chief United States district judge for the Northern District of Illinois, ordered the Trump Administration to file a statement by October 12 informing the court whether the government agrees or disagrees that revelation of the details of the Boeing deal will interfere with US foreign policy toward Iran.
Boeing has fought vigorously to keep the details of its agreements with Iran secret. Indeed, even its arguments about whether the details of the transactions should be revealed have been filed with the court under seal, preventing public inspection.
The Leibovitch family is represented by New York attorney Robert J. Tolchin and Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
The judgment awarded to the Leibovitch family against Iran stated that the international terror sponsor was liable for funding terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Despite winning damages of $67 million, Iran has paid nothing.
Nonetheless, following the Iran Deal – which permitted certain US companies to engage in business with Iran – Boeing entered into a $16.6 billion deal to sell 80 airplanes to IRANAIR, an Iranian airline that is 60% owned by the Iranian government.
Attorneys for the Leibovitch family served Boeing with an Illinois Citation to Discover Assets to determine if there are any assets held by, or on behalf of, Iran – including rights to acquire such property in the future that could be used to satisfy the family’s judgment.
In a concerted effort to conceal details of its dealings with Iran, Boeing has claimed to the court that simply disclosing the details of its transactions with the country to enable the court to assess whether the Leibovitch family can reach any Iranian assets would cause “grievous damage” to US national security by “disrupting the JCPOA.”
In response to this assertion by Boeing, Castillo requested a statement from the US government as to whether the government contends that providing details of the Boeing transaction will in fact obstruct key components of the Iran nuclear deal.
According to Darshan-Leitner, who is president of Shurat Hadin, Boeing “has raised every possible argument to conceal the terms of its deal with the terrorist state of Iran.”
“Rather than just litigate the matter on its merits, and admit it has no moral dilemma doing business with a rogue regime that is responsible for so much innocent blood, it has gone on the attack against the family of the terror victims and their attorneys,” she said on Wednesday.
“The terror victims have the right to seize all property belonging to Iran. Tehran is the preeminent cause of international terrorism today, and no publicly-traded US company should agree to provide it with airplanes that are being directly used to perpetrate extremist violence.”
Moreover, Darshan-Leitner called on Boeing’s leadership and stockholders “to assist the American terror victims to pursue justice; not serve as apologists for those that devastated their lives.”