Former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is fighting a subpoena calling on him to testify in a lawsuit that accuses the Bank of China of funding terrorist organizations, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday. In the case, the Israeli legal NGO Shurat HaDin is representing 22 families of American victims of terror attacks in Israel from 2003-2008.
The bank is also accused of forcing Israel to block the testimony of Israeli witnesses who knew about the bank’s terror-related financial activities. Cantor was asked to testify about his possible knowledge of the bank’s obstruction of witness testimony, based on conversations the former Virginia congressman had on the subject with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former U.S. ambassadors to Israel Ron Dermer and Michael Oren, and other Israel officials.
Attorney Eleni M. Roumel of the U.S. House of Representatives Office of General Counsel, however, has signed a motion to squash the subpoena for Cantor to testify. Roumel said that Cantor is constitutionally protected from being deposed about anything related to legislation or other aspects of his former congressional position, barring “extraordinary circumstances,” which according to Roumel do not exist in this case. Shurat HaDin is disputing this claim, saying Cantor’s conversations with Israeli officials were not part of his regular duties.