Judge rejects Alavi pitch for new trial over 650 Fifth Avenue

Iranian nonprofit wanted to limit forfeiture

New York /
Sep.September 01, 2017 04:40 PM

A Manhattan Federal Court judge rejected the Alavi Foundation’s request for a new trial Friday, dismissing the nonprofit’s argument that minimal proceeds related to 650 Fifth Avenue were tied to Iran.

Alavi had asked the court to either order a new trial or set aside the jury’s June verdict, which paved the way for the federal government to seize Alavi’s 60 percent stake in the Fifth Avenue tower. The nonprofit argued that the forfeiture should be limited to 11.4 percent of the building’s value because any proceeds it received in relation to controlling 650 Fifth on behalf of Iran were limited to management fees.

The jury had found that Alavi was controlled by Iran and laundered money through its partnership with the Assa Corporation, a shell company for an Iran-controlled bank. Alavi denied knowing about Assa’s Iran connection and called the verdict “excessive and grossly disproportional to the offense.”

Judge Katherine Forrest, however, wasn’t swayed by Alavi’s arguments. She said that 650 Fifth Avenue was at the center of a money laundering scheme that circumvented U.S. sanctions against Iran.

“The evidence amply demonstrated that the conduct at issue in this trial was the product of planned, carefully executed judgment,” Forrest wrote. “[Alavi was] aware of Iranian interest, ownership and control, and they proceeded to conduct themselves in a way designed to maximize protections for Iran, in the face of clear and well-understood laws that made those actions unlawful.”

She also found that delaying the sale of the 395,000-square-foot, 36-story property (SL Green and Jeff Sutton own the retail component at the base, where Nike signed a record-breaking lease in November) would potentially impact the value of the asset, subjecting the sale’s recipients to “lengthy additional economic risk.” The proceeds are expected to go toward victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism.

Representatives for Alavi didn’t immediately return requests seeking comment.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Australian town is inundated with inquiries after offering free land to new residents
Australian town is inundated with inquiries after offering free land to new residents
Australian town is inundated with inquiries after offering free land to new residents
The price of a new home in China’s largest cities fell for the first time since 2015
New home prices in China’s largest cities fall for first time since 2015
New home prices in China’s largest cities fall for first time since 2015
MLB teams agree to pay for some minor leaguers’ housing
MLB teams agree to pay for some minor leaguers’ housing
MLB teams agree to pay for some minor leaguers’ housing
Real estate powers Blackstone’s best quarter ever
Real estate powers Blackstone’s best quarter ever
Real estate powers Blackstone’s best quarter ever
Terreno Realty CEO W. Blake Baird and an aerial of the property (Google Maps)
Terreno Realty pays $44M for NJ industrial site
Terreno Realty pays $44M for NJ industrial site
Madison Realty Capital Co-Founders Josh Zegen and Brian Shatz with a rendering of the River North development (Madison Realty Capital, FXCollaborative)
Madison Realty’s altered plans for SI complex approved
Madison Realty’s altered plans for SI complex approved
Pandemic forces mom-and-pop landlord to sell out
Pandemic forces mom-and-pop landlord to sell out
Pandemic forces mom-and-pop landlord to sell out
PBC's Eli Elefant and 452 Fifth Ave (PBC)
Elefant’s PBC to liquidate $2B in US real estate, including HSBC building
Elefant’s PBC to liquidate $2B in US real estate, including HSBC building
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...