Federal prosecutors on Thursday moved to seize a Fifth Avenue skyscraper and four mosques around the country that are allegedly under the control of the Iranian government.
Officials sought all assets owned by the Alavi Foundation, a nonprofit suspected of acting as a front for Iran, in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. Federal officials have accused Iran of funding terrorism.
“For two decades, the Alavi Foundation’s affairs have been directed by various Iranian officials, including Iranian ambassadors to the United Nations, in violation of a series of American laws,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
The 36-story Piaget building, 650 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street, was built in the 1970s when Iran was under the shah’s control. Eventually, the Alavi Foundation, which funds Islamic centers, took over the building.
The office tower reportedly took in $4.5 million in rents in 2007. Tenants include Citigroup and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Notorious inside-trader Ivan Boesky had an office there.