Report: US to Seize Iran-Owned New York Skyscraper
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The United States is set seize control of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper prosecutors claim is secretly owned by Iran, the US justice department said, though the ruling is to be appealed.
The US justice department claimed that the seizure and sale of the 36-storey building, in the heart of New York City on Fifth Avenue, would be the largest-ever (so called) "terrorism-related forfeiture."
A federal judge ruled in favour of the government's suit this week, saying The Piaget Building's owners had violated Iran sanctions and money laundering laws, a report by AFP said.
Manhattan Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara said the decision upholds the justice department claims the owner of the building "was (and is) a front for Bank Melli, and thus a front for the Government of Iran", the report said.
Prosecutors allege the building's owners, the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corporation, transferred rental income and other funds to Iran's state-owned Bank Melli.
Alavi also ran a charitable organisation for Iran and managed the building for the Iranian government, the statement said.