| NEW YORK/RIYADH, April 13
NEW YORK/RIYADH, April 13 More than two dozen
U.S. insurers affiliated with Travelers Cos have sued
two Saudi banks, companies affiliated with Osama bin Laden's
family, and several charities for at least $4.2 billion over the
Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The lawsuit filed late on Wednesday night in the U.S.
District Court in Manhattan is the latest effort to hold
entities in Saudi Arabia liable for the attacks.
Nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked airplanes crashed
into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon near
Washington, D.C. and a Pennsylvania field.
The 10 defendants in the lawsuit include Al Rajhi Bank
, National Commercial Bank, aviation
contractor Dallah Avco, the Mohamed Binladin Co, the Muslim
World League, and other charities.
They were accused in the lawsuit of having "aided and
abetted" the attacks through a variety of "activities in support
of al Qaeda" in the years leading up to them.
"But for the assistance provided by defendants," the lawsuit
said, "al Qaeda could not have successfully planned,
coordinated, and carried out the September 11th attacks, which
were a foreseeable and intended result of their material support
and sponsorship of al Qaeda."
The insurers are seeking to recoup sums paid to
policyholders who suffered personal, property and business
injuries from the attacks.
Their lawsuit seeks at least $1.4 billion of compensatory
damages, triple damages and punitive damages.
The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment
on Thursday, which is the start of the weekend in the Gulf.
Al Rajhi has previously said that U.S. courts have
"repeatedly" dismissed similar claims against the bank, which
"has no links to terrorism" and is "committed to operating at
the highest levels of compliance" with applicable rules.
The Saudi government and affiliates including the Public
Investment Fund, its sovereign wealth fund, have a majority
stake in National Commercial Bank.
A Travelers spokesman, Matt Bordonaro, had no immediate
additional comment on Thursday.
Several other lawsuits pending in the Manhattan court seek
to hold Saudi Arabia liable to individuals and insurers over its
alleged involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Saudi
government has denied such involvement.
Saudi Arabia long had broad immunity from such lawsuits in
the United States, but Congress in September overrode a veto by
former President Barack Obama and allowed such lawsuits to
The case is Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co et al v Al Rajhi
Bank et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York,
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Katie Paul in
Riyadh and Tom Arnold in Dubai; Editing by Toni Reinhold)