Lloyd’s Syndicate Sues Saudi Arabia for $215M Over 9/11 Claims

By | September 15, 2011

Lloyd’s of London’s Syndicate 3500 filed a federal lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, several Saudi charity and financial organizations and prominent Saudi individuals over 9/11 terror attacks. The insurer said Saudi defendants bear primary responsibility for the attacks and should be responsible for $215 million the insurer paid out in claims.

The 154-page complaint, filed on Sept. 8, names as defendants the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya, Saudi Red Crescent Society, National Commercial Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Company. Also included as defendants are three Saudi citizens connected to these organizations, Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Suleiman Abdel Aziz Al Saud and Yassin Al Qadi. The lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“Each of the defendants named herein was a knowing and material participant in al Qaeda’s conspiracy to wage jihad against the United States, its nationals and allies,” according to the lawsuit.

Pursuant to the terms of the applicable policies of insurance, Lloyd’s Syndicate 3500 made 9/11-related claims payments on behalf of its liability insureds towards the individual settlements in an amount in excess of $215 million, according to the court papers. These liability insureds included airlines, airport authorities, security companies, airplane manufacturers and other parties. Those who received settlements included individuals injured from the 9/11 attacks and families of individuals killed in the attacks, as well as businesses that suffered economic losses.

Defendants ‘Knowingly’ Provided Support, Complaint Says

The insurer charges that these Saudi defendants “knowingly” provided material support and resources to al Qaida in years leading up to 9/11.

The lawsuit says without Saudi Arabia’s assistance, the terrorists would not have been able to carry through their plan. “Absent the sponsorship of al Qaeda’s material sponsors and supporters, including the defendants named herein, al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the September 11th attacks,” it stated. “The conspiracy among the defendants to wage jihad against the United States, its nationals and allies, included the provision of material support and resources to defendant al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations, persons, and entities.”

“The success of al Qaeda’s agenda, including the September 11th attacks themselves, has been made possible by the lavish sponsorship al Qaeda has received from its material sponsors and supporters over more than a decade leading up to September 11, 2001,” it stated.

The insurer filed the lawsuit in Western Pennsylvania, a region where United Airlines Flight 93 had crashed during the 9/11 attacks. Cozen O’Connor, the law firm representing Lloyd’s Syndicate 3500, had filed a similar suit in 2003, also against Saudi Arabia. In that case, a New York federal court ruled that Saudi Arabia could not be sued since it is not on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist sponsors.

Charity Accused of Funneling $74M to al Qaeda

The new lawsuit attempts to establish concrete links between Saudi charity organizations and al Qaida and explain how the Saudi government supported al Qaida through these charity organizations. The complaint states that “Between 1998 and 2000, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya, diverted more than $74 million dollars to al Qaeda members and loyalists affiliated with Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya bureaus. Throughout this time, the committee was under the supervision and control of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz.”

The case is Underwriting Members of Lloyd’s Syndicate 3500 v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 11-00202, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.

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