Israeli intelligence agencies believe New York-based Citibank has served as a conduit for funds going to Palestinian terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported Jan. 25.
The agencies believe the main group for the fund transfers is Al Aqsa, an Israeli Arab charity that has asked the Bank of Israel for a permit to start its own bank.
Officials of the agencies, which fear that the recent opening of Citibank’s first branch in Israel could step up such fund transfers, met in New York last weekend with top Citibank officials.
The delegation told the bank officials that more than $1 million collected by Muslim charitable groups in the U.S. and intended for Hamas and Islamic Jihad was deposited in the bank.
Some of that money already has been transferred to Israel and to terrorist groups, while the rest remains in the bank, Ha’aretz said.
A spokesman for the bank, the first U.S. bank to win a license to operate in Israel, said Citibank has “never done business with a terrorist organization.”
For full story, go to Ha’aretz.