MPs call for end to Interpal sanctions

Early day motion says Lloyds TSB should resume processing Palestinian aid charity's payments

MPs have called on the Government to force Lloyds TSB to resume processing international payments for Palestinian relief charity Interpal after a Charity Commission investigation found no evidence that its local partners had been involved in terrorism.

An early day motion lodged by Lynne Jones, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, says that in the light of the proposed state ownership of 65 per cent of Lloyds TSB, the Government should force the bank to lift its sanctions on the charity.

Lloyds TSB is one of the four clearing banks through which all UK banks must process their international payments. In November, it told Interpal's bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain, that it could no longer process Interpal's payments because the US, where Lloyds TSB also operates, considered it a terrorist organisation and had banned companies from providing any services to it.

The EDM, signed by six MPs, says the Government should ask the US treasury to "release any relevant evidence of wrongdoing by Interpal to the Charity Commission, or else remove the charity from its blacklist".

Lloyds TSB declined to comment on the EDM. In an earlier statement, however, it said it could alter its position only if Interpal persuaded the US government to remove it from its sanctions list, or if the charity, with the Government's help, negotiated an industry-wide solution. "We understand the strength of feeling about this issue but, unfortunately, our hands are tied," the statement said.

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