Osen LLC managing partner Gary Osen, “Alleges that these banks are supporting terrorism and have entered into a conspiracy with Iran to laundry money through the U.S.; more than $300 Billion dollars and some actually went to Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard Corp who are waging war against our troops and Iraqi civilians.”
The lawsuit was brought under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, a 1992 law that permits victims to bring private suits against alleged financiers of militant operations.
The New Jersey based lawyer for the plaintiffs said Monday that, “about 200 U.S. wounded Military veterans and family members of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq are suing five European banks, accusing them of allegedly transferring money to Iran that was later used to finance attacks, shootings and roadside bombings against American troops.” The lawsuit is based on the allegation that Iran funded, trained and armed a number of ‘special groups’ among Shia militia that perpetrated attacks on U.S. forces in [Iraq].
The lawsuit filed in U.S. district in Brooklyn, New York named the (5) defendant banks sued for aiding attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq as: Barclays plc, Credit Suisse Groups AG, HSBC Holdings plc, Standard Charters and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc.
Gary Osen told the Guardian that the lawsuit lodged with the U.S. district court in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, was designed to tell a “largely untold story of Iran’s involvement through proxies in Iraq to kill large numbers of coalition forces.” The alleged lawsuit states the banks conspired with Iranian banks to mask wire transfers in order to evade U.S. sanctions. The Iranian banks then funneled more than $100 million to militant groups that operated in Iraq at Iran’s direction, according to the suit.
The militant groups included a Shiite militia in Iraq, Hezbollah and the overseas arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the suit says.
The five banks according to Osen, “were earlier subject to U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation after they were alleged to have bypassed sanction rules by siphoning money to Iran, Cuba and Libya.” Some of these banks put up settlement money. Since 2009, the five banks have agreed to pay about $3.2 Billion to the U.S. government to resolve allegations that they handled money in violation of sanctions. All the banks signed deferred prosecution agreements with the U.S. Justice Dept. in addition to settlements with U.S. banking regulators.
Iran Sanction Violations-Settlements with U.S. government: (HSBC $1.9 Billion)-(Standard Charter $687 Million)-(RBS as ABN AMRO $550 Million)-(Barclays $298 Million)-(Credit Suisse $536 Million)
The banks are eager to settle with the government, some of them settled in an unrelated case this month with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission for manipulating currency. Next step will be for the banks to appear with their attorney; no doubt they will have hired some of the largest named law firms. “The evidence”, He says, “I think is quite strong and the real question really is will they ever be held accountable for what they’ve done?”
In a statement issued after its 2012 agreement with U.S. prosecutors and banking regulators, HSBC said it accepted responsibility for “past mistakes.” Standard Chartered, which also reached an agreement in 2012, emphasized that it was cooperating with U.S. authorities.
The suit is the first case under the Anti-Terrorism Act in which former U.S. soldiers seek damages against international banks; a unique use of the 1992 law. It is also one of the first to be crafted as a conspiracy case.
Reuter’s states, the lawyers who filed the suit, Gary Osen and Tab Turner, were part of a team that tried an Anti-Terrorism Act case against Arab Bank earlier this year in Brooklyn. Jurors found Arab Bank liable for financing 24 Hamas attacks in (Israel) and the Palestinian Territories between 2001 and 2004.
The case linked Arab Bank (specifically) to wire transfers to alleged Hamas leaders and payments to Palestinians killed, injured and imprisoned in the anti-Israel uprising.
The lawsuit does not assert a direct connection between the European banks and the allegedly Iran-directed attacks carried out in Iraq. Instead, the complaint claims the banks indirectly facilitated the attacks by entering into agreements with Iranian banks to mask U.S. dollar wire transactions sent through the United States.
“Each defendant (Bank) understood that their conduct was part of a larger scheme engineered by Iran,” Osen said in an interview. At a minimum, he said, the banks were “deliberately indifferent” about the transactions they processed for Iran.
Osen said that through press accounts, declassified U.S. military reports and documents posted by WikiLeaks; he built a file on attacks on U.S. forces that were traceable to Iran. The boldest attack took place in January 2007, when attackers dressed as American soldiers infiltrated a compound in Kerbala, Iraq, and killed five U.S. military personnel.
Osen sent letters to the families of the soldiers killed in Kerbala. Charlotte Freeman, whose husband was killed in Kerbala and her mother-in-law decided to join the case to make a statement. “I never suspected these big banks would turn a blind eye,” she said. “Even if the case doesn’t get that far, at least the story is told. It needed to be exposed.”