Five major European banks have been sued by several military veterans and about 80 families of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, for allegedly sending funds to Iran that were later used to finance terror groups that launched attacks on American troops, the Guardian reported Monday.
The lawsuit, which was based on the claims of more than 200 individuals, was filed in U.S. district court in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday. The case has been brought under the 1992 US Anti-Terrorism Act, accusing the five banks -- Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Royal Bank of Scotland -- of violating international sanctions imposed on the Iranian government through covert fund transfers. The lawsuit also claimed that about $100 million was channeled separately by Iranian banks to aid rebel groups in Iraq.
The main allegation in the lawsuit is that “Iran funded, trained and armed a number of ‘special groups’ among the Shia militia that perpetrated attacks on US forces,” the Guardian quoted Gary Osen, a New Jersey-based lawyer for the plaintiffs, as saying.
According to Osen, the lawsuit was designed to tell a “largely untold story” of Iran’s secret involvement in Iraq “to kill large numbers of coalition forces.”
The plaintiffs include relatives of Brian Freeman, a U.S. soldier who was captured and killed on Jan. 20, 2007 in an insurgent attack in Karbala, south of Baghdad.
Freeman’s wife reportedly told Reuters that she had joined the lawsuit to send a message that she had “never suspected these big banks would turn a blind eye. Even if the case doesn’t get that far, at least the story is told. It needs to be exposed.”