HBL responds to report of allegedly ”aiding and abetting al-Qaeda terrorism”

Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has been hit by serious controversy of failing to prove wrong allegations of helping al-Qaeda terrorism and being part of conspiracy to launch attacks that killed or injured 370 plaintiffs or their family members, reported Bloomberg.

According to the report, the Pakistani bank faces secondary liability under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act as an entity that “aids and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance, or who conspires with the person who committed such an act of international terrorism,” according to Judge Lorna G. Schofield Schofield of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The US judge added that the complainant in the three consolidated cases sufficiently allege that the attacks were planned or authorized by an organization designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under the Immigration and Nationality Act, such as al-Qaeda or one of the “syndicate FTOs,” which include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and its alter ego AlRehmat Trust, the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani Network, and the Pakistani Taliban.

Furthermore, the complainants alleged that HBL was fundamental to al-Qaeda’s terror activities, carried out directly and by proxy, which is sufficient to allege general awareness

The US District Court Judge termed the allegations that the Pakistani bank “took deliberate steps to help customers evade international sanctions regimes, and in doing so incurred business risk that ultimately led to defendant’s expulsion from the US” are enough to to show that HBL was part of the conspiracy to commit the attacks.

HBL Pakistan Responds to the Allegations:

HBL Pakistan in its response said that its well aware of the report published by Bloomberg. It termed the allegations in the complaints meritless and added that HBL is contesting them fully and vigorously.

“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 controls has been highly successful and lauded by regulators around the world.”

The bank added that its motion was successful in two respects: the Court dismissed the primary liability claim and narrowed the case substantially.

“HBL has made investments in management time and resources to strengthen its AML and CFT protocols by partnering with global experts in this field. The Bank seeks to adhere to the highest standards of Compliance with international and country laws and regulations.”

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