Iranian companies must forfeit 650 Fifth Avenue

Proceeds to go to the families of terrorism victims

Ayatollah Khamenei And 650 Fifth Avenue
Ayatollah Khamenei And 650 Fifth Avenue

A group of Iranian companies must forfeit ownership of a Midtown office tower to plaintiffs who sued for damages over terrorist attacks, a Manhattan federal judge ruled Monday.

Because the companies acted as fronts for the Iranian government, according to Judge Katherine Forrest’s ruling, the entities effectively “are” the government of Iran under federal law. The property in question, 650 Fifth Avenue, is valued at more than $500 million and was seized by the federal government following a September ruling.

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The proceeds from the forfeiture are to go to the families of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, according to previous reports, though the details of how those damages will be doled out is not immediately clear.

Formerly called the Piaget Building, the trophy tower at 52nd Street first came under scrutiny four years ago, when the federal government moved to confiscate five assets owned by the Alavi Foundation, according to previous reports. [NYDN]Julie Strickland