Bank closes Egyptian immigrant's account with no explanation

August 25, 2003

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On August 25, 2003 The Christian Science Monitor reported that Hossam Algabri, an Egyptian immigrant, received a notice from Fleet telling him, "We regret to inform you that we have decided that it is not in our best interest to continue your banking relationship with us." When Algabri tried to straighten out what he thought was a mistake, the bank "told him that his account was flagged for suspicious activity, but says that is all it is at liberty to reveal." This incident is part of a larger trend among banks to try to control the flow of money connected with terrorist associatons. The article explained, "Financial institutions are under pressure from the government. They face stiff fines - up to $1 million in some cases - if they don't stop money flows or freeze accounts. Some observers worry, however, that financial discrimination has become an unwanted byproduct. Under an article of the Patriot Act, some investigations are now conducted in secret, and American consumers like Algabri are increasingly finding their accounts closed without explanation - and with little recourse."