Author: 
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2006-12-18 03:00

WASHINGTON, 18 December 2006 — A significant decision by a New York judge last Thursday dismissed a lawsuit against Saleh Kamel and Albaraka Investment Bank.

The accusations alleged they had been involved in support of the Al-Qaeda group suspected of backing the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Khaled Al-Nahdi, assistant to CEO of Dallah Albaraka Group, said in a statement on Friday that Judge Richard Conway Casey, of the Federal Court of South New York, had dismissed the case raised by a number of insurance companies on Dec. 14, 2006, against Saleh Kamel and Albaraka Investment & Development Company. Abdul Qader Hashim, a legal adviser of Dallah Albaraka, and also in charge of the case stated that Judge Richard Casey had dismissed a similar case earlier (Burnet vs. Albaraka Inv. & Dev. Co.) raised by the families of the victims in the same incident against Saleh Kamel and Albaraka Investment & Development Company.

“This is a huge decision,” Martin McMahon, the litigation counsel for Saleh Kamel and Albaraka Bank, told Arab News in a brief phone interview yesterday. “This is very important because it was the cornerstone of their lawsuits. What’s important to also note is that it is only written about Sheikh Saleh and Albaraka.

“This vindicates Sheikh Saleh’s position that he has nothing to do with financing international terrorism, and that he thoroughly rejects that concept of international terrorism.”

McMahon said that in January 2005, when Saleh Kamel and Albaraka Bank were dismissed in the Burnet case, he contacted the lawyers representing other law cases of 9/11 lawsuits and asked them if they would dismiss their cases. McMahon said they rejected his request.

McMahon said this week’s decision “has worked out in our favor because there’s a definitive opinion, six pages, dismissing both Saleh Kamel and the bank. It sends a negative message to the other 9/11 lawyers that if you’re a bank, or someone like Saleh Kamel who’s an investor in a bank, this broad decision seems to suggest that the judge is going to be dismissing the remaining bank defendants and remaining investors.

“It’s really a very strong message to the attorneys from the judge that they should look carefully as to who the remaining defendants are and should take effective steps to dismiss many of the remaining defendants.”

McMahon said the dismissal of Saleh Kamel from the “Golden Chain” charges are also very significant.

“All these allegations including the ‘Golden Chain’ myth were dismissed on the grounds that the bank and Saleh Kamel do not constitute, nor take any responsibility of any unconventional banking transactions. Moreover, holding of shares in bounds is not a violation of law,” a lawyer said on background.

The “Golden Chain” terminology dates back to March 2002, when authorities in Bosnia and Sarajevo raided the offices of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) suspecting it was funding Al-Qaeda. The raid uncovered a handwritten list containing the names of 20 wealthy donors allegedly thought to be sympathetic to Al-Qaeda. The list, referred to as “The Golden Chain,” allegedly contained the names of both donors and recipients.

McMahon said last week’s court decision knocks down the “Golden Chain” myth. “This is the fifth or sixth court that has rejected the ‘Golden Chain’ concept. In the opinion, Judge Casey cited the fact that the plaintiffs relied upon the ‘Golden Chain’ as a document to support their claims.”

“What’s nice about it is that the ‘Golden Chain’ was one of the cornerstones of the plaintiffs’ lawsuits, and now it is being thrown out by Judge Casey — after two courts in England threw the document out — and this is the second or third time that Judge Casey is throwing out the lawsuit.”

“Saleh Kamel is elated about this decision,” said McMahon. But now he wants to know: ‘Where do I go to get my name and reputation back?’ Because of these spurious allegations his reputation in the international banking community has been severely damaged.”

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