- Laundered money that was used to finance international terrorism
Based in Amman, Jordan, the Arab Bank has been instrumental in transferring donations from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and other Palestinian terrorist-supporting organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere. It is the largest bank in Jordan, with 350 branches around the world and total assets of some $23 billion. It is also the most important banking institution in the Palestinian territories, and operates 15 branches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It serves as the primary recipient and distributor of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) funds, and is the preferred financial institution for a slew of terror groups — including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Arab Bank has been identified by the Palestinian Authority‘s security services as the major channel for funds from abroad to these organizations.
The Arab Bank’s Board of Directors includes, among others, the head of the Saudi Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Chairman of Palestine Development & Investment Ltd., the Lebanese Finance Minster, and the Chairman of the Palestinian Telecommunications Corporation.
According to Palestinian documents seized by the Israeli Defense Force, the Arab Bank served as a conduit for the transfer of tens of millions of dollars from the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al-Quds (a.k.a. Saudi Committee) mostly “to the families of suicide bombers and to the families of imprisoned or injured Palestinian militants.” The Saudi Committee was established in October 2000 (shortly after the outbreak of the latest Palestinian Intifada) in Riyadh as a private charity run by Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abd al-Aziz. Its stated mandate was to support the Intifada al-Quds and the families of future “martyrs.” Shortly after its founding, the Saudi Committee held two telethons with Prince Naïf requesting contributions for “a continuation and assertion of the kingdom’s support [for the Intifada].” The two telethons raised $174 million, of which the $55.7 million was used to bankroll Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and their related front organizations in the West Bank and Gaza.
Among the charges brought in a lawsuit against the Arab Bank in New York by American victims of Palestinian terror are the following: The Committee transferred some of its telethon revenues in riyals to the Arab Bank’s branch on Madison Avenue in New York, which in turn laundered the money and forwarded the sum in dollars to the Arab Bank branch in Ramallah; together with the Arab Bank, Riyadh launched a public-relations campaign in the Palestinian territories, announcing that this money was available ($5,000 apiece) for the families of aspiring “martyrs”; and lesser amounts were promised — and provided — to those merely wounded or captured by the Israelis while carrying out a terror attack.
The U.S. House Subcommittee On Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security believes that the Arab Bank also has ties to al Qaeda. According to Subcommittee member Anthony Weiner of New York, some 40 to 60 Arab Bank customers are implicated in such affiliations not only with Osama bin Laden‘s group, but also with Hamas and Hezbollah. Moreover, Weiner claims, the Arab Bank has repeatedly saved the Palestinian Authority from bankruptcy. “The Arab Bank has proven itself to be a terror bank,” said Weiner. “We should shut it down and expel it from the United States.”