She has led tens of lawsuits against terrorist groups and state sponsors of terror. Courtrooms around the world have ruled 1 billion dollars in favor of her and have allowed her to seize finances and assets so to bankrupt terrorists. Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is leading battles the State of Israel won’t. Now, for the first time, she is fighting the state itself, which asked her to launch a major lawsuit against the Bank of China, but has abandoned her in the NY court. “They sent me to fight, made use of victims of terror, and abandoned them.”
November 2013 – Lady Globes
Last April Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner found herself in the middle of a story that seemed as if it was taken from a movie. The plot: global economic interests, political and diplomatic pressures, and Israel-China relations. On that same spring day, Darshan received a phone call from the American attorneys of the Shurat HaDin organization she heads. These attorneys manage the lawsuit that was brought against the Bank of China, the central bank of China, by Israeli victims of terrorism, where, they allege, accounts used by terror organizations in Gaza were held.
This was an urgent phone call. The feeling was that the ground was being pulled beneath their legs. The Bank of China’s representatives happily announced to the court in New York that the central witness in the case, the former intelligence official Uzi Shaya, who warned the Chinese about these accounts, will not be testifying. Darshan was in shock. At one point she was surprised, on another was mad, and finally she was angry and threatened that she would subpoena not only Shaya but any intelligence officials involved with this case.
“The first phone call was to Shaya, who admitted there was a problem,” she says. “The next phone calls were to officials in the intelligence community. I was very mad, and could not stay calm during these calls. I need to hear from the Chinese that Israel has broken her promises to me? I told them ‘You caused us to reach an insane situation,’ and they told me ‘You think that if you raise your voice it will help?’”
The story begins in 2005. “The Israeli security community discovered that the Bank of China had accounts belonging to a Hamas activist in Gaza. He received funds from the Hamas headquarters in Jordan and Syria, and each time they transferred a round sum of 100 thousand dollars, that would be deposited in the Chinese account in Guangzhou, a very active province when it comes to terrorism, because China does not classify the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations as terrorist organizations. The funds passed from China to the bank in New York, and from there they were immediately withdrawn and transferred to Gaza. We are talking about accounts which had at least 3 million dollars passed on to them during the Intifada years, at a time Gaza was under siege and this money was needed by her like air for breathing so that terror attacks could be perpetrated.
“In 2007 an intelligence organization approached me. The intelligence officials told me the story, described how they met with the managers of the bank and warned them, and how the latter did nothing. Terror funds continued to be transferred to Gaza, and the Chinese claimed that there was no problem with these accounts, and that no Chinese laws were broken. The intelligence officials asked me: ‘Can you sue the bank?’ They promised that they will help as needed – testimonies, documents, evidence. I immediately began working.”