Judge: Iran-backed company behind NYC office tower

AP News
Posted: Sep 16, 2013 10:25 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A foundation that owns a New York City office tower says it's disappointed a judge determined the tower may be subject to forfeiture because revenue from it was secretly funneled to an Iranian bank in violation of a U.S. trade embargo.

The Alavi Foundation says it disagrees with the court's analysis and intends to appeal once a final judgment is entered.

A federal judge made the forfeiture finding in Manhattan federal court Monday. The U.S. government sought the forfeiture in 2008.

The government had said the Alavi Foundation's sole partner in the ownership of the 36-story Manhattan building was a shell company fronting for a secret interest held by the state-owned bank of Iran, Bank Melli.

The judge says monetary transfers by the shell company to Bank Melli violated money laundering statutes.