HBL says it will challenge allegations in US terrorism financing case Business & Finance

Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) faces secondary liability in a case in the United States after failing to rid itself of allegations of aiding and abetting al-Qaeda terrorism and participating in a conspiracy to launch attacks that killed or injured 370 complainants or their family members, reported Bloomberg Thursday.

HBL, Pakistan’s largest commercial bank, faces secondary liability under the Justice Against Terrorism Sponsors Act as a party that “aids and abets, knowingly providing substantial assistance, or conspires with the person who has committed such an act of international terrorism”, Bloomberg quoted Judge Lorna G. Schofield on Wednesday.

The report, citing Judge Schofield, said the plaintiffs in the three consolidated cases sufficiently allege that the attacks were planned or authorized by an organization designated under the Immigration and Nationality Act as a foreign terrorist organization, including al-Qaeda or any of the “syndicate FTOs”, which include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and his alter ego AlRehmat Trust, the Afghan Taliban including the Haqqani Network, and the Pakistani Taliban .

And the plaintiffs sufficiently allege that the bank knew its customers were “an integral part of Al-Qaeda’s global campaign of terrorism, carried out directly and by proxy,” which is sufficient to allege general awareness, the report adds. .

The complaints also show that the bank “knowingly and substantially” aided “al-Qaeda and its proxies in evading sanctions” and engaging in terrorist acts, which satisfies the “knowingly assisting” requirement. ‘, Schofield, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, was further quoted as saying.

Allegations that the bank “took deliberate steps to help customers evade international sanctions regimes and in doing so incurred a business risk that ultimately led to the defendant’s deportation from the United States” , are sufficient to show that Habib joined in a conspiracy to carry out the attacks, Schofield added.

Schofield, however, dismissed the plaintiffs’ primary liability claims because none of the alleged banking services provided by Habib “were themselves acts of international terrorism,” the report added.

HBL responds

In response to the evolving situation, HBL said it is aware of the article published by Bloomberg. Its share price fell by Rs6.11, the maximum, on Thursday to close at Rs75.36.

“The allegations contained in the complaints are without merit and HBL fully and vigorously disputes them,” he said in a message to company registrar. “The public record is clear that HBL is unwavering in its commitment to combating the financing of terrorism, and – as has been well documented – its extensive global implementation of anti-money laundering compliance checks has been highly successful. and welcomed by regulators around the world.”

HBL said its motion was successful on two counts: the court dismissed the primary liability claim and significantly narrowed the case.

“The court also said that secondary liabilities will be assessed following due process and no judgment has been issued by the court on this matter.”

HBL said it proactively launched a business transformation program, in early 2018, around its control and compliance processes and systems to comply with international standards.

“HBL has invested the time and management resources to strengthen its AML and CFT protocols by partnering with global experts in this area. The Bank seeks to adhere to the highest standards of compliance with international laws and regulations and national.”

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