Thursday, July 27, 2017

NYC Feds Score Largest Civil Forfeiture Jury Verdict In U.S. History, Snatching Away Title To 36-Story, $500 Million Fifth Avenue Office Building, Other Real Estate & Cash From Iran In Connection With Sanctions Violations, Related Money Laundering Charges

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (New York City):
  • Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a federal jury today [June 29] found the 36-story office building at 650 Fifth Avenue (the “Building”), worth at least $500 million, and other real property and bank accounts forfeitable to the United States as proceeds of violations of the Iran sanctions and property involved in laundering the proceeds of those sanctions violations. The jury’s verdict, which represents the largest civil forfeiture jury verdict and the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in United States history, came after a five-week trial before the Honorable Katherine B. Forrest.

    Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “For over a decade, hiding in plain sight, this 36-story Manhattan office tower secretly served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of U.S. sanctions laws. In this trial, 650 Fifth Avenue’s secret was laid bare for all to see, and today’s jury verdict affirms what we have been alleging since 2008: that through all the efforts to sanction and isolate Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, the owners of 650 Fifth Avenue gave the Iranian government a critical foothold in the very heart of Manhattan through which Iran successfully circumvented U.S. economic sanctions.

    The jury’s verdict finding forfeitable a building valued at over $500 million dollars, as well as other real estate and funds, represents the largest civil forfeiture jury verdict and the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in U.S. history. This verdict not only vindicates the exemplary work of all the career prosecutors and law enforcement partners who have doggedly pursued this case for almost a decade, but importantly, it also allows for substantial recovery for victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism.”

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