NCRI – The US Court of Appeals has revived part of a $1.68 billion lawsuit against the Iranian Regime’s central bank, Bank Markazi, by the familes of US service personell killed in the 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon by the Iran-backed Hezbollah.
The federal court, based in New York, voted 3-0 on Tuesday, that a lower court judge was wrong to dismiss the families’ claims against Markazi and two European banks who helped facilitate the illegal financial transactions that helped fund the terrorist group.
The court did uphold the dismissal of claims against JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The plaintiffs are seeking to recoup bond proceeds owned by Markazi and held by Luxemburg banking corporation Clearstream, to satisfy part of the $3.8 billion of judgments they won against Iran after a US federal court found the Regime responsible for state-sponsored terrorism.
The plaintiffs have accused the banks of illegally processing billions in proceeds owed to Markazi and are targeting funds held in a Clearstream account at JPMorgan in New York.
Iran is one of several countries that has been found guilty of terrorism by US federal courts and ordered to pay damages to the victims, but these orders are notoriously hard to enforce.
When US District Judge Katherine Forrest dismissed the case in February 2015, she said that the US lacked jurisdiction over Markazi funds located in Europe or the Middle East, that the plaintiffs dropped their case against Clearstream and Italian bank UBAE, and that there was nothing left in the New York-based Clearstream account for JPMorgan to pay out.
In the most recent decision, however, Circuit Judge Robert Sack said that new court rulings relating to the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act allow courts in New York to apply jurisdiction over international assets owned by a foreign power.
He then ordered Forrest to decide whether she has personal jurisdiction over Clearstream and whether any state or federal law prevents the money from being recovered.
Sack noted that, at the time of the original ruling, Forrest would have been right to assume that she did not have jurisdiction over assets held in Luxembourg.
In a separate terrorism lawsuit in April 2016, the US Supreme Court ordered Markazi to pay nearly $2 billion, which had been frozen, to victims of its terrorism. They also said that Congress had not exceeded its powers by passing a law that makes it easier for victims to claim damages.
The 1983 attack in Beirut killed 241 US service members and wounded many more.