North Little Rock lawyer Tab Turner is one of the attorneys in a lawsuit filed in New York by families of more than 80 American soldiers killed or injured in Iraq between 2004 and 2011.
The suit alleges five major banks conspired to aid Iran avoid U.S. economic sanctions while Iran was funding terror groups in Iraq.
Turner was one of the lawyers in an earlier lawsuit that produced a verdict against an Arab bank for financing Hamas.
The news release follows:
(Brooklyn, NY – November 10, 2014) Families of more than 80 American soldiers who were killed or injured in Iraq between 2004 and 2011 filed suit today in federal court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit, captioned Freeman v. HSBC, alleges five major international banks (HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. and Credit Suisse) and Bank Saderat, plc, a London, U.K.-based subsidiary of a leading Iranian bank, entered into a criminal conspiracy to aid Iran’s decades-long efforts to evade U.S. sanctions. The lawsuit further alleges that Iran was contemporaneously targeting American soldiers and civilians in Iraq by funding, training and arming various terror groups to attack American citizens and force the United States out of Iraq.
According to the 207-page complaint, filed by Gary M. Osen (Osen LLC) of New Jersey and Tab Turner (Turner & Associates, P.A.) of North Little Rock, alleges that through the conspiracy, HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. and Credit Suisse worked with Iran and its banks to illegally transfer billions of dollars in payments by the Central Bank of Iran, Iran’s Bank Saderat, and Bank Melli through New York. The lawsuit alleges that these Iranian banks, in turn, transferred more than $150 million U.S. dollars through this same scheme to the Foreign Terrorist Organization, Hezbollah and other terrorist entities via the Specially Designated Global Terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (“IRGC”), at a time when the terrorist groups were actively killing Americans in Iraq.
“Iran, through its proxies, has killed more Americans than any other country in the last 30 years and they’re still doing it – and many leading financial institutions didn’t seem to care,” said Mr. Osen.
For example, the United States Treasury Department issued findings in 2006 that “Bank Saderat facilitates Iran’s transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations each year…. A notable example of this is a Hezbollah-controlled organization that has received $50 million directly from Iran through Bank Saderat since 2001.” Similarly, in October 2007, the Treasury Department announced that: “[f]rom 2002 to 2006, Bank Melli was used to send at least $100 million to the Qods Force. When handling financial transactions on behalf of the IRGC, Bank Melli has employed deceptive banking practices to obscure its involvement from the international banking system. For example, Bank Melli has requested that its name be removed from financial transactions.”
Previously, HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. and Credit Suisse entered into Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) in which they admitted to knowingly violating various U.S. sanctions laws prohibiting unauthorized funds transfers on behalf of Iran. Each bank also admitted altering, falsifying, or omitting information from payment messages that involved Iran or Iranian parties for the express purpose of concealing Iran’s and Iranian parties’ financial activities and transactions from detection, scrutiny, or monitoring by U.S. regulators, law enforcement, and/or depository institutions – a scheme known in the banking industry as “stripping.” Each of the Defendants also agreed to pay a multimillion dollar fine (and in the case of HSBC, more than a $1 billion in fines), but each was ultimately considered by prosecutors “too big to jail,” and none were held accountable for the funds transferred by Iran to terrorists actively killing and maiming large numbers of Americans in Iraq.
“There has to be some accountability for what Iran did to our troops in Iraq,” said Kelli Hake, the wife of Christopher Hake, who was killed in Iraq on March 23, 2008 by an Iranian-manufactured Improvised Explosive Device (IED). “And there has to be accountability for companies that profited from helping Iran.”
Gary Osen and Tab Turner were two of the lead counsel in the recent civil terror financing trial in federal court in Brooklyn that resulted in a liability verdict against Arab Bank, plc of Jordan for its role in financing the terrorist organization Hamas. The case, Linde v. Arab Bank, was the first civil case brought against a financial institution tried to a jury under the ATA.
“The families of Americans killed and maimed by Iran deserve accountability,“ added Mr. Turner. “Our government has been reluctant to hold banks truly accountable for what happened here, but we’re going to do our best to shed new light on what the lawsuit describes as an enormous criminal conspiracy.”