NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge says a Manhattan office tower may be subject to forfeiture because revenues from it were secretly funneled to an Iranian bank in violation of the trade embargo with Iran.
Federal Judge Katherine Forrest made the forfeiture finding in Manhattan federal court on Monday. The ruling came after the U.S. government in 2008 sought the forfeiture.
The government had said the Alavi Foundation's sole partner in the ownership of the Fifth Avenue building was actually a shell company fronting for a secret interest held by Bank Melli, the state-owned bank of Iran.
The judge agreed that monetary transfers by the shell company, Assa Co., to Bank Melli violated money laundering statutes. The Iranian government has been designated by the U.S. as a sponsor of international terrorism.