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Major American Financial Institution Opposes Holding Iran's Feet to the Fire

 
 

Beirut Bombing Victims Slam Depository Trust & Clearing Cooperation for Lobbying Against Legislation that Would Help American Victims of Iranian Terrorism

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A global financial giant is trying to kill legislation that will help the United States to hold Iran responsible for its role in the 1983 Beirut suicide bombing, which killed 241 American servicemen, maintaining that it is too much trouble to track financial transactions with Iran.

The New York City based Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), which among other services settles securities transactions exceeding a quadrillion dollars, is lobbying Congress to oppose H.R. 4070, a bill that would enhance sanctions on Iran's central bank and make it easier for victims of Iranian terrorism to collect court ordered judgments. DTCC claims that it handles such a tremendous volume of financial transactions that determining which originate in Iran would prove an unreasonable burden. H.R. 4070, which has a growing list of bipartisan co-sponsors, strengthens and clarifies American law that enforces how Iranian assets in the U.S. may be attached in cases involving American victims of Iranian terrorism.

Surviving victims and families of those killed in the Beirut bombing are outraged.

"DTCC should be ashamed of itself. It is moaning to Congress behind closed doors that it's too much work to keep Iran from laundering money into the American financial system so that its investments can finance Hamas and other terrorist organizations committed to killing Americans.  DTCC says it's too much trouble to keep Iran from being held responsible for out and out murder.  How absolutely absurd," says Lynn Smith Derbyshire, spokes person for the Beirut bombing victims.

According to University of Pennsylvania law professor Charles Mooney, a widely recognized international business law expert, DTCC is overreacting.

"The bill creates no significant additional burdens to the US securities holding system. It actually helps US financial institutions by defining their responsibilities under existing law sanctioning Iran and its financial institutions.  Moreover, with some minor adjustments to the bill, it could explicitly address all material concerns expressed by DTCC.  It is regrettable that the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation opposes this bill solely to avoid what amounts to a slightly enhanced due diligence effort to detect and block Iranian assets," Professor Mooney said.

The Obama Administration has cited Iran as a "primary money laundering concern," pushing international financial sanctions to thwart Iran's nuclear program but also to mitigate Iranian banks from prospering from illicit financial activity. Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen told the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recently, "…the effectiveness of our sanctions program depends in no small measure on the efforts of the financial community."

"Under Secretary Cohen has it right. If institutions moving Iranian murder money around the world are too lazy to cooperate with the sanctions our Government passes, then they will have to face up to what that means.  It sounds like DTCC would rather continue to support Iran's avowed commitment to killing Americans than to find a way to track money coming out of Iranian banks and financial institutions. If that's the case, it owes the American people an explanation. All the American financial institutions affiliated with DTCC need to tell us why they would side with Iran, rather than American victims of Iranian terrorism. It's completely backwards from what it should be. The DTCC should be eager to hold a terrorist state accountable for its crimes. Americans are not going to accept DTTCC saying that it's too much trouble to do that, so we are just going to let Iran get away with murder," Ms. Derbyshire said.

H.R. 4070 is pending before the House Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, and Judiciary Committees. The Senate counterpart, S. 2101, unanimously cleared the Senate Committee on banking, Housing and Urban Affairs last month.

This release is distributed by Saylor Company Public Relations Counsel under the direction and authority of Thomas Fay, Esq. and Steven Perles, Esq., legal counsel for the Beirut bombing victims group mentioned in the release.

SOURCE Saylor Company Public Relations Counsel under the direction and authority of Thomas Fay, Esq. and Steven Perles, Esq.

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