Sept. 11 Suit to Add Defendants, Including Saudi Bank, Minister

by Milo Geyelin

The Wall Street Journal
November 22, 2002



The families of Sept. 11 victims who filed a $1 trillion lawsuit against members of the Saudi royal family and an array of banks and charities in August are expected to add 50 defendants today, including Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif and the Saudi American Bank, that nation's second largest financial institution.

The amended suit, to be filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, adds to the 100 defendants already named in the complaint. The lawsuit has drawn the attention of Bush administration officials, who have said they are monitoring it because of the impact it could have on U.S. - Saudi relations.

Brought by Charleston, S.C. plaintiffs lawyer Ronald L. Motley on behalf of 3,000 families of those who died and survivors of the attacks, the suit alleges that members of the Saudi royal family and other Saudi entities sponsored the attacks by financing terrorism through a global financial network. The lawsuit alleges racketeering, conspiracy, wrongful death and negligence.

The amended complaint, a draft of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, alleges that Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz al-Saud engaged in payoffs to al Qaeda along with Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who was named in the original suit. Prince Sulltan, Minister of Defense and Aviation in Saudi Arabia, is alleged to have funded several Islamic charities that have been linked to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda operations, most notably the International Islamic Relief Organization, according to the State Department.

A spokesman for the Royal Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington was unavailable to comment. Saudi officials previously have denounced the allegations as unfounded.

The amended complaint also alleges that Saudi American Bank, partly owned and managed by Citigroup Inc.'s Citibank unit, financed development projects in Sudan benefiting Mr. bin Laden when he and al Qaeda were operating in that country. Sudan also was named in the original suit. A spokeswoman for Citibank said she hadn't seen the complaint and declined to comment.

Also expected to be named in the amended suit was Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi, a wealthy Saudi businessman who is alleged to have directed the Kenya branch of al Haramain Islamic Foundation. The Bosnia and Somalia branches of that Saudi charity, which was banned in Kenya after the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, have been designated by the U.S. as terrorist entities. Mr. al Amoudi couldn't be reached to comment.



Copyright © 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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