The Justice Department said it has made payments totaling more than $800 million from the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund to compensate thousands of U.S. victims of international acts of terrorism by state sponsors of terrorism.
The government said the fund will continue making payments in the coming weeks that will bring the total to more than $1 billion.
The recipients, many of whom have been waiting years for compensation, include the Iran hostages held from 1979 to 1981 and their spouses and children, and victims of the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and other international terrorist incidents.
The fund, established by legislation in 2015, is administered by the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section in the Criminal Division. Congress authorized the department to deposit certain forfeiture proceeds, penalties and fines into the fund if they come from civil and criminal matters involving prohibited transactions with state sponsors of terrorism.
Originally, Congress provided $1.025 billion for payments to victims, and recent Justice Department prosecutions and U.S. government enforcement actions have increased the total available for initial payments to more than $1.1 billion.
Kenneth R. Feinberg was appointed the special master to administer the fund.
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