U.S. authorities are seeking the sanction of asset forfeiture in connection with a 36-story Fifth Avenue N.Y.C. building, alleged to be partly owned by Iran’s Bank Melli. "Assets Seized at Company Suspected of Funneling Money to Iran" and / or a U.S. Treasury Department press release, also report that Bank Melli is accused of concealing its 40% beneficial ownership of 650 Fifth Avenue. Bank Melli and its related entities ASSA CO. LTD and ASSA CORP., have further been linked to terrorist financing and are named in the attached list of those subject to Weapons of Mass Destruction sanctions programs.
Bank Melli may have additionally disguised Iranian funds as construction "loans" for 650 Fifth Avenue and supposedly transferred rent monies to Iran, which were collected from 650 Fifth Avenue. Based upon the above-mentioned articles and press release, Bank Melli possibly used the following money laundering methods in connection with 650 Fifth Avenue:
i) operating the parent corporation ASSA CO. LTD from the Channel Islands, a high-risk geographical location;
ii) forming the domestic shell company ASSA CORP. as the New York subsidiary of ASSA CO. LTD.;
iii) using ASSA CORP. as the nominee purchaser of 40% of 650 Fifth Avenue;
iv) disguising Bank Melli monies as construction "loans" for 650 Fifth Avenue– perhaps through "back-to-back" or other types of sham loans.
v) transferring rent collected from tenants at 650 Fifth Avenue through multiple jurisdictions, including New York City, the Channel Islands and Iran.
Copyright 2008 Fred L. Abrams