US /
Judge: Feds Can Seize Iran-Owned NYC Building
Would be biggest terror-related forfeiture
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2013 6:40 PM CDT
People stand near an entrance to 650 5th Ave. in New York in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – The Justice Department may have just scored a huge payday from Iran in unusual fashion: A federal judge has ruled that the feds can seize a 36-story office tower in Midtown Manhattan because its owners were illegally sending rent revenue to Iran, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Daily News pegs the value of the tower at 650 Fifth Ave. between $500 million and $700 million, explaining why the Justice Department is boasting that this is the "largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture."

It's not a done deal just yet, however. The Alavi Foundation, which owns 60% of the building, plans to appeal. US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest agreed with federal prosecutors that the building's ownership is essentially a front for the government of Iran and is funneling money to the state-owned Bank Melli. That would violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, among other offenses. The US Attorney in Manhattan says the money would go to victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism.

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Showing 3 of 56 comments
Sep 18, 2013 6:40 PM CDT
As an Iranian, I applaud this move! All the resources, assets, and front organizations for this terror regime must be shut down and confiscated. This is a regime of terror and mayhem and must be treated as such by the rest of the civilized world. Bravo!
Sep 18, 2013 10:37 AM CDT
The US is okay with nationalizing the property of other nation's citizens? So is the US ready for forgive Cuba for nationalizing the property of its own citizens?
Sep 18, 2013 7:43 AM CDT
The money "would go to victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism"? Who is that? I don't remember Iran attacking the US in my lifetime, unless you stretch the definition of "victims" to cover the equipment we gave Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war. As previous posters have stated, it seems misdirected to single out Iran, given the Saudi Arabian terrorists. Nana Leven.