Sept. 11 Victims Cannot Seize Afghan Central Bank Assets -US Judge
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A US judge on Tuesday said victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are not entitled to seize billions of dollars of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank to satisfy court judgments they obtained against the Taliban.
US District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said he was “constitutionally restrained” from finding that the Taliban was Afghanistan’s legitimate government, a requirement for attaching assets belonging to the central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank.
“The judgment creditors are entitled to collect on their default judgments and be made whole for the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, but they cannot do so with the funds of the central bank of Afghanistan,” Daniels wrote.
The decision is a defeat for four groups of creditors that sued many defendants, including al-Qaeda, they held responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, and obtained default judgments after the defendants failed to show up in court.
Lawyers for the groups had no immediate comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Daniels adopted the findings of US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn, who had last August also recommended that the creditors not recover from the Afghan bank.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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