A Palestinian man reads a notice on the door of the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City
A Palestinian man reads a notice on the door of the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City in 2010. The Hamas rulers of Gaza have ordered two banks to pay out more than $100 million following a lower court ruling, bank bosses told AFP on Friday. © Mohammed Abed - AFP/File
A Palestinian man reads a notice on the door of the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City
AFP
Last updated: November 19, 2011

Hamas orders Gaza banks to pay up $100 million

The Hamas rulers of Gaza have ordered two banks to pay out more than $100 million following a lower court ruling, bank bosses told AFP on Friday.

A board member from the Islamic Bank of Palestine said that following the decision, $6 million of his bank's assets had been preventively frozen and $100 million from the Bank of Palestine.

The court decision also barred board members from either bank from leaving the Gaza Strip, the source said asking not to be named.

The banker denounced the decision, saying: "All banks in Gaza pay no taxes in accordance with an exemption extended in 2007 by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas."

An offical from the Bank of Palestine said his bank had been ordered to pay $99.7 million and 50 million shekels ($14 million) in unpaid taxes and late penalties.

"The bank's legal department is preparing its response to this unjust decision," the source said, also reqesting anonymity.

Taher al-Nunu, a Hamas spokesman, said Gaza authorities "were applying court decisions and we hope that the banks decide to do the same."

In March, most banks in Gaza closed in protest after funds were seized with the approval of Hamas, which has controlled the territory since chasing out security forces loyal to Abbas.

Monetary authorities under the control of Abbas's West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, block any bank from dealing with Hamas.

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