October 11, 2017 / 4:29 PM / a year ago

U.S. justices wrestle over Arab Bank liability in militant attacks

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday over whether companies can be sued under U.S. law for human rights abuses abroad in a case about whether Arab Bank Plc can be held responsible for allegedly helping to finance militant attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Some of the conservative justices on the nine-member court signaled concern about potential U.S. foreign policy tensions arising if such cases are heard in American courts. The court's four liberals indicated that corporations should not be immune.

Even if the court rules for the roughly 6,000 plaintiffs suing the Jordan-based bank, the lawsuit could still be dismissed on other grounds once it returns to lower courts.

The plaintiffs accused the bank of being the "paymaster" behind attacks including suicide bombings because of its role in processing certain financial transactions. The plaintiffs include relatives of non-U.S. citizens killed in attacks and survivors of the incidents.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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