United States justice department has seized office tower on 5th avenue that is suspected of directing funds to Iran. The suspected Iranian owned building, said prosecutors, has been collecting funds from rent and redirecting the money to an Iranian bank.
The justice department stated that this is “largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture” and that they are to seize the building promptly. One of the owners of the building, the Alavi foundation, said that he is “disappointed” and plans to appeal the decision in court. However, the Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara affirmed: “the Assa Corporation, operated as a “front for Bank Melli, and thus a front for the government of Iran”
Such accusations were denied by the corporation. They affirm that the money is directed exclusively to help the population affected by terrorist acts in Iran and not to fund the nuclear program.
Note that US District Judge Katherine Forrest said money transfers to Bank Melli made by Assa breached laws on money laundering.
“There is substantial, uncontradicted evidence that Assa is owned and controlled by Bank Melli, and that Bank Melli is wholly owned and controlled by Iran,” Ms. Forrest said.
Nevertheless, the Assa Corporation will not give up without a fight. Affirming that they disagree with the decision made by the judge and plan to appeal after a final verdict is made.