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Federal government to seize NYC skyscraper tied to Iran

It was once known as the Piaget Building because the Swiss jeweler used to have offices in the skyscraper near Rockefeller Center.

In the near future, it will be known as property of the federal government.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest has granted a summary judgment that clears the way for the government to seize the 36-story office building owned by a corporation and foundation with ties to the Iranian government. The move is the latest chapter in a short but storied history that includes design by John Carl Warnecke, the same architect who drew up the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Logan International Airport in Boston and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

A statement by the U.S. Justice Department says the ruling "paves the way for the largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture."

The building at 650 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan is owned by the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corp., which took part in money laundering, the statement says. Assa is a front for Bank Melli, which is a "a front for the government of Iran," according to the statement.


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"The building will be sold and is worth $500 million to $700 million, according to the New York Daily News. Proceeds will go toward helping the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism."

*...Off the top of my head I imagined airline passengers going through the TSA shake-down as the above mentioned victims.