Terrorism Victims Sue Government Over Delayed Funds, Including $4.3B in Binance Fines

News | June 13, 2024 By:

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, a complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the delay in processing claims from victims of state-sponsored terrorism. The complaint names the United States, several government agencies and officials, and the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund as defendants.

Five plaintiffs brought the suit, all of whom have won judgments against Iran for damages from acts of terrorism. The plaintiffs include Diana Campuzano, who obtained a $18.9 million judgment for injuries from a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Also suing is the estate of Taylor Force, a U.S. Army veteran killed in a 2016 stabbing attack in Israel, which was awarded $6.25 million.

The complaint alleges that the defendants have failed to follow statutory deadlines and requirements set in the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act. This law established the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund to distribute money seized from sanction violations and civil/criminal cases to victims holding judgments against state sponsors of terrorism, like Iran.

One issue raised is the failure of the Government Accountability Office, led by Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, to submit a required report. The Act mandates the GAO conduct an audit and report on “lump sum catch-up payments” that would equalize payout percentages for victims of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing and 1996 Khobar Towers bombing with other claimants.

Though the deadline was February 28, 2024, no report has been submitted. The plaintiffs argue this simple calculation has been needlessly delayed and expanded into a multi-step process, preventing over $3 billion allocated by Congress from reaching eligible victims. They seek a court order declaring the GAO violated the law and compelling the immediate release of the report.

Another claim focuses on funds that have yet to be deposited in the victim compensation fund, despite legally requiring transfer. This includes an estimated $4.3 billion in criminal fines and forfeitures imposed on the cryptocurrency exchange Binance for sanctions violations, as well as $630 million from British-American Tobacco.

The suit asks the court to require the appropriate government agencies to place these sums into the victim fund without further delay.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.