District Court Dismisses ATS Claim Against Bank Where Alleged U.S. Wire Transfers Were Not Connected With Alleged Attacks Outside the U.S.

The World in U.S. Courts: Summer 2015 - Alien Tort Statute (ATS)/Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA)

Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, SAL, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, April 14, 2015

Victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks brought suit under the ATS against a bank they allege provided financing for the attacks. The complaint alleged that the financing occurred through U.S. dollar transactions executed through a correspondent bank located in the U.S.

The plaintiff alleged that the financing "aided and abetted" violations of the "law of nations," as required under the ATS. But while the complaint recited that the bank "knew" and "intended" that its wire transfers would support alleged terrorist activity, the District Court in New York found that the assertion was not supported by specific facts, and the case was dismissed. "Absent facts to plausibly connect the executed wire transfers with an express purpose of facilitating the rocket attacks, Plaintiffs have failed to plead 'factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'"

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