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News Clash

HUH: Judge Finds Manhattan Skyscraper Owned by Iranian

The United States government may be about to take possession of a Manhattan skyscraper worth more than $500 million after a federal judge found its owners knowingly served as fronts for the Iranian government.

The order granting what prosecutors describe as “the largest real property forfeiture” came after five years of litigation, the New York Daily News reports. If the order is upheld in an anticipated appeal, the government could sell the property and give some of the proceeds to victims of terrorist attacks, including the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing and the 9/11 attacks.

The Alavi Foundation owns 60 percent of the 36-story 650 Fifth Ave. building in midtown Manhattan. The rest is held by the U.K.-based Assa Company, Limited. But U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that there is “uncontroverted record evidence, [proving] Assa was (and is) a front for Bank Melli, and thus a front for the Government of Iran” to shield its U.S.-based assets.

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