Saudi banks, bin Laden firms face $4.2bn US lawsuits
WASHINGTON, 11 days ago
A group of United States insurers has hit 10 defendants, including Saudi banks and companies connected with the family of Osama bin Laden, with a $4.2 billion lawsuit over the 9/11 terror attacks.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday night in US District Court in Manhattan by more than two dozen US insurers affiliated with the insurance holding company Travelers Companies, reported Reuters.
The move follows a decision by Congress last September to override a veto by then-President Barack Obama and allow US citizens to sue foreign governments.
Included among the defendants is National Commercial Bank, in which the Saudi government, through its Public Investment Fund, holds a majority stake. The bank is listed alongside Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi aviation firm Dallah Avco, Mohamed Binladin Co. and multiple charities.
The lawsuit accused them of having “aided and abetted” the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, through a variety of “activities in support of al-Qaeda” over a number of years, reported News Week.
“But for the assistance provided by defendants, Al Qaeda could not have successfully planned, co-ordinated, and carried out the September 11th attacks, which were a foreseeable and intended result of their material support and sponsorship of al-Qaeda,” the lawsuit read.
The lawsuit, which seeks at least $1.4 billion of compensatory damages, triple damages as well as punitive damages, is just the latest legal move from the families of the victims of the deadliest terror attack ever on US soil.
Congress’ decision to pave the way for such action last year was the only successful override of an Obama veto during his eight years in office, stated the News Week report.
And the passing of the Justice Against Terrorism Act (Jatsa) was swiftly criticized by Obama, who said it would put US officials in other countries in danger and subject to similar legal challenges, said the report.
It was also condemned by the Saudi government, which had long lobbied against such action, it added.