U.S. alleges company laundered money for Iran

New York (CNN) -- The federal government moved Thursday to
seize assets belonging to the Alavi Foundation and the Assa Corp.,
including a Manhattan skyscraper and four mosques, citing alleged links
to the Iranian government.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for
the Southern District of New York, announced Thursday's filing of an
amended civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the Alavi Foundation's
interest in the 36-story office tower located on Fifth Avenue in
Midtown Manhattan.

The tower is owned by 650 Fifth Avenue
Company, a partnership between the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corp., the
Justice Department said. The amended complaint alleges that the Alavi
Foundation provided services to the Iranian government and transferred
money from 650 Fifth Avenue Company to Bank Melli, Iran's largest
state-owned financial entity.

U.S. and European Union officials
last year designated Bank Melli as a proliferator for supporting Iran's
nuclear and ballistic missile programs and funneling money to the
Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force, considered terrorist groups by the
United States.

Bank Melli issued a statement last year denying involvement in any deceptive banking practices.

amended complaint seeks forfeiture of all assets of the Alavi
Foundation and Assa Corp., including bank accounts owned by 650 Fifth
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