Lawsuits against banks operating in Palestine filed in US have no legal base, says governor

RAMALLAH, Wednesday, Lawsuits filed in US courts against three Palestinian banks has no factual or legal base, the Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), Azzam, Shawwa, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Shawwa said he has been aware of recently filed civil litigation in the United States against the Cairo Amman Bank, Bank of Palestine and Palestine Investment Bank, three banks operating in Palestine, and expressed his confidence that the lawsuits do not have any factual or legal basis.

The Governor noted that all banks operating in Palestine are safe and sound institutions that are cornerstones of the Palestinian economy.

Further, he said, the banks will continue to be committed to compliance with laws and international best practices to counter money laundering and terror financing.

Finance Minister Shukri Bishara, along with Shawwa and his deputy, Riyad Shihadeh, and a team of lawyers and legal experts from the US met on Tuesday with the presidents of the three banks involved in the lawsuit to discuss the issue and how to confront it.

Families of Israelis with dual American citizenship who were hurt during the second Intifada between 2001 and 2003 filed the lawsuits in US courts late last year claiming the banks kept accounts for groups involved in the attacks and therefore the banks should pay millions of dollars in compensation.

The US Supreme Court ruled last year on a similar litigation involving the Jordan-based Arab Bank. The court said then that foreign corporations cannot be sued in US courts for such allegations, thus closing the door to any further similar lawsuits.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency