More than 80 wounded U.S. combat veterans and their families have filed suit against several of the world’s largest banks, which they accuse of facilitating financial transfers on behalf of Iran that directly led to the killing and wounding of U.S. troops in Iraq, according to court documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The suit filed early Monday accuses multiple banks of “committing acts of international terrorism” by helping Iran fund and arm Iraqi terrorists who have killed scores of U.S. troops, according to the complaint.
More than 200 plaintiffs have signed onto the suit, which targets some of the largest international banks, including: HSBC Bank USA, Barclays, London’s Standard Chartered Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, and London-based Bank Saderat.
The veterans argue that the banks helped Iran illegally move “billions of dollars” to terrorist entities that later targeted U.S. troops in attacks.
The suit alleges these banks are knowingly acting as key cogs in Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions and provide “material support” to Hezbollah and other terror groups, which, at Tehran’s behest, have carried out attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.
“Defendants’ unlawful conduct was purposefully directed at the United States, and the conspiracy was specifically designed to effectuate the flow of billions of U.S. dollars through the United States in violation of U.S. laws, and in fact resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars illegally passing through the United States,” plaintiffs argue in the complaint filed by New Jersey-based Osen & Associates.
The veterans and their families are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the banks as a result of their alleged support for Iranian terrorism.
The complaint goes on to detail scores of terror attacks in Iraq backed by Iran committed between 2004 and 2007 that injured or killed those who have signed on to the lawsuit.
Those involved in the suit say that they are driven by a need to expose Iran’s terror activities and the complicity of the banks accused in the suit.
“The world in general needs to know that these banks are doing what they are doing and it needs to be stopped,” said Kelli Hake, whose husband Christopher was killed on March 23, 2008, by an “Iranian-manufactured IED provided to Iranian-funded and-trained terror operatives in Iraq,” according to the court documents.
Hezbollah has ties to Brazil’s largest criminal gang; group also found active in Peru
One of Brazil’s largest media outlets released a police document that purportedly shows links between the South American nation’s largest and most notorious gang and the Lebanon-based Islamist militant group Hezbollah – giving more credence to those who claim the Middle Eastern group is making inroads throughout Latin America.
The police documents, revealed by Brazilian media conglomerate O Globo, tell of links between weapon traffickers tied to Hezbollah and the Brazilian prison gang First Capital Command (PCC), in which traffickers operating in the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay supply weapons to the PCC in exchange for protection of inmates of Lebanese origin in Brazil’s prisons.
Besides putting the PCC in contact with weapon dealers on the shady international arms market, the alleged Hezbollah-linked traffickers also acted as intermediaries in the sale of C4 explosives that the PCC stole from Paraguay.
These connections between the two groups apparently date back to 2006 and first surfaced on the Brazilian police’s radar in 2008.
The document was released just a couple of weeks after Mohammed Amadar, a suspected Hezbollah operative, was arrested in the neighboring country of Peru on suspicion of planning attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets.
Peruvian newspaper La Republica reported that the man, who is a Lebanese citizen, had been gathering intelligence on places frequented by Israelis and had been handling TNT, detonators and flammable substances in his Lima apartment.
According to The Times of Israel, the man had arrived in Peru in November 2013 and married a woman with both Peruvian and American citizenship just two weeks later.
In recent years, a number of links have been revealed between Hezbollah and groups or individuals in Brazil.
Last spring, Brazil’s Civil Police arrested Hamzi Ahmad Barakat in the city of Curitiba under allegations that he had connections to a network of front companies that fleeced Lebanese immigrants who had recently moved to Brazil.
Barakat, who allegedly has ties to the infamous Triple Frontier region, is listed in the United States as a member of Hezbollah and is suspected of trafficking arms, drugs, explosives and counterfeit bills.
“He was preying on his own countrymen, using their identities to create companies to carry out schemes,” said Cassiano Aufiero, the police investigator in charge of the case.
Aufiero added that while he knew of Barakat’s purported ties to the Islamic militant group, he said that he was under arrest for different matters, including embezzlement and the creation of false documents.
Barakat’s arrest shed more light on the Triple Border region, which has become a hotspot for smugglers and drawn the attention of the U.S., Israel and governments throughout South America.
The region has drawn a number of immigrants for the Middle East, particularly from Lebanon, and is believed to be one of Hezbollah’s major areas of operation outside of the Islamic world, due to its seclusion, loose borders, rampant political corruption and weak judicial system. Brazil has one of the largest Lebanese population’s outside of Lebanon with at least 7 million people from that country residing there and some estimates claiming closer to 13 million.
In 2004, Barakat’s brother, Assad Ahmad Barakat, was named by the Treasury Department as one of Hezbollah’s “most prominent and influential members” and was believed to have used an electronics wholesale store in the Triple Frontier as a cover for raising funds for Hezbollah. The Brazilian police arrested him in 2002 and deported him to Paraguay, where he went to prison for tax evasion.
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