New York (CNN) — The federal government moved Thursday to seize assets belonging to the Alavi Foundation and the Assa Corp., including a Manhattan skyscraper and four mosques, citing alleged links to the Iranian government.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced Thursday’s filing of an amended civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the Alavi Foundation’s interest in the 36-story office tower located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
The tower is owned by 650 Fifth Avenue Company, a partnership between the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corp., the Justice Department said. The amended complaint alleges that the Alavi Foundation provided services to the Iranian government and transferred money from 650 Fifth Avenue Company to Bank Melli, Iran’s largest state-owned financial entity.
U.S. and European Union officials last year designated Bank Melli as a proliferator for supporting Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and funneling money to the Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force, considered terrorist groups by the United States.
Bank Melli issued a statement last year denying involvement in any deceptive banking practices.
Thursday’s amended complaint seeks forfeiture of all assets of the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corp., including bank accounts owned by 650 Fifth … >>>