Judge drops Saudi Binladin in Sept 11 damages suits

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 11, 2012 10:03 PM
Judge drops Saudi Binladin in Sept 11 damages suits

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Saudi construction firm founded in the 1930s by the father of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden cannot be sued for damages over the September 11, 2001, attacks, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Manhattan federal court judge George Daniels ruled against plaintiffs who said the Saudi Binladin Group, one of the largest construction firms in the Gulf Arab kingdom, helped fund bin Laden's militant activities leading up to the 2001 attacks.

The move dismisses claims against the Binladin Group in six different lawsuits stemming in which survivors, relatives and others are seeking damages from defendants they accuse of aiding the attacks.

The judge ruled that the Binladin Group's "alleged support of Osama bin Laden before 1993 is too temporally remote to establish jurisdiction."

Any activity a subsidiary of the Binladin Group may have had in the United States prior to the September 11 attacks, which killed close to 3,000 people, was also too thin to justify jurisdiction over it, the judge ruled.

Bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. special forces in May in Pakistan, was removed as a shareholder of his family's construction business in 1993, the court order said.

Bin Laden, who was stripped of Saudi citizenship and whose family ultimately disowned him, was born in Saudi Arabia in 1957, one of more than 50 children of millionaire Saudi Binladin group founder Mohammed Binladin. The family became prominent thanks to an oil-fuelled construction boom.

The mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden and the global militant network he led was also linked to a string of other attacks including the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)