Assyrian Group Sues Turkish-Kuwaiti Bank for Funding Terrorism
By Dikran Ego
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(AINA) -- Assyrians who fled the war in Syria filed a lawsuit against a bank which is largely owned by Kuwait Finance House and the Turkish Authority for Foundations, based in Turkey. The lawsuit accuses the bank, Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi A.S. (KTKB), and its parent financial institutions of funding terrorism.

The lawsuit was filed in a court in North Carolina, United States. The organization behind the the lawsuit is called St. Francis Assisi and was formed on June 6, 2016. The Christian organization is represented by Mogeeb Weiss in San Francisco but Tom Creal seems to be the one behind the case.

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A reporter for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Tolga Tanis, interviewed Tom Creal and published a story in Turkish. According to Tanis' article, titled Turkey and the Terrorist Financing, Tom Creal formed a team of eight employees that will prepare the lawsuit against KTKB, which is identified as the hub of the financing of several terrorist groups in Syria. Among the terror organizations mentioned being supported are the Islamic State (IS), Al-Nusra Front and several other radical Islamic terror groups.

In the lawsuit there is a plea for compensation of 75,000 dollars per person. Creal is a financial expert and worked in Afghanistan as a reporter for the UN until 2009. After his mission in Afghanistan he left the United Nations and formed the organization The Hunters Group, to work for states and civil society organizations with the task to hunt black money.

According to Tolga Tanis, the evidence against KTKB is very strong. Via social media, KTKB have asked people to donate money to several terrorist groups in Syria through the Bank and its accounts. The fund-raising campaigns are said to have been organized under the pretext of funding humanitarian aid.

The Turkish connection is massive. The Vice Chairman of KTKB is Adnan Ertem, who is also the head of the state authority Directorate General Of Foundations in Turkey. With regards to Turkey's role in financing terrorism, Tolga Tanis cites the recently released annual Country Report of the US State Department on terrorism from 2015 (p.159):

The nonprofit sector is not audited on a regular basis for CFT vulnerabilities and does not receive adequate anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism outreach or guidance from the Turkish government. The General Director of Foundations issues licenses for charitable foundations and oversees them, but there are a limited number of auditors to cover the more than 70,000 institutions.

Analysts expect this case to grow and the connection between Turkey and the financing of terrorist groups revealed (AINA 2016-06-16), in which case the Assyrians behind the lawsuit against KTKB will find themselves standing against Turkey, which is accused of financing terrorist groups.

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