The United States Attorney’s Office Has Seized An Iranian Skyscraper In New York City

On Thursday, Fox News reported that the United States Attorney’s Office has seized a skyscraper in New York City allegedly secretly owned by the Iranian government.

The article reports:

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed that the property owner, the Assa Corporation, was nothing more than a front for the state-run bank that financed the building.

“The Judge’s opinion upholds what was the contention of this Office from outset: ‘Assa was (and is) a front for Bank Melli, and thus a front for the Government of Iran,’” Bharara said in a statement.

The building was originally erected in the 1970s by the Phalavi Foundation, a non-profit that was operated at the time by the Shah of Iran and financed by Bank Melli, which is controlled by the Iranian Government. 

After the Iranian revolution, the loan for the building was cancelled in the 1980s and ownership was transferred to Assa and the Alavi Corporation. The U.S. alleges that Assa and Alavi were shell companies set up by the Iranian regime, with the former based in the UK’s Channel Islands to launder money back to the government.

Needless to say, the Alavi Foundation intends to appeal the court’s decision.

The article reports:

The government plans to use money from the seizure to compensate victims of Iranian–sponsored terrorism.

The building is valued at between $500-700 million and recently had $11 million in improvements.

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