The government of Iran must hand over a $500 million skyscraper to the United States government after being held liable in civil court for funding groups that organized the attacks of September 11, among other terror attacks. The building, owned by Iranian companies, was found to be a front for the Ayatollah’s government.
According to the New York Daily News, the skyscraper will likely be sold upon being handed over to the U.S. government. The proceeds will then be forwarded to relatives of the victims of terror attacks for which Iran was found guilty of aiding last year.
In an ongoing class action suit in which multiple parties, including Hezbollah and Osama bin Laden, were ordered to pay $6 billion in damages as a result of their collective terror activities in 2012, efforts to fully reimburse victims and their families continue.
The building at the center of this suit, owned by the Alavi Foundation and Assa Company, was found in September to be effectively owned by the Iranian government, as Judge Katherine Forrest described both these corporations as fronts for the government itself. Their money, that decision stated, flowed through the government’s Bank of Melli. The Justice Department of New York issued an extensive press release linking both companies to the Iranian government.
The seizure of the building is likely the largest in the nation’s history.
The New York Post notes that not only will Forrest’s decision likely lead to the United States government acquiring this building for distribution to the victims, but it also highlighted six other properties that should be considered to pay the $6 billion debt. For some families, the suits have been decades long, as they are owed millions by rogues like Iran and terror groups, and finding the money in a manner accessible to American courts has been a challenge.
One lawyer who spoke to the paper said his clients are owed $42 million in compensatory damages and $300 million in punitive damages for the killing of Charles Hegna in Tehran. He said the family has essentially given up on the punitive damages. He did add, however, “If we were to get the compensatory damages, there’d be more than enough left for all other victims.”
The building has been standing since the 1970s, thanks to an organization then run by the Shah of Iran. It has since been in the hands of the Iranian revolutionary government through corporate entities.