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US Bid To Take 650 Fifth Avenue From Iran Triggers Talks of Bayside Bank Melli and Zarif

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 13 – The US sued seeking forfeiture of a building at 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, to take the property rights of Bank Melli Iran and Assa Company. That was in 2008 and the case has been up to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

 On June 25 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Loretta A. Preska held a proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted it, below.

  On October 13, Judge Preska held another lengthy proceeding. It involved the US investigation into sanctions violations. The defense called it discriminatory, asking Judge Preska to imagine that the "Mullah-skeptic" questions being transposed to skepticism about other (actually) protected classes.

  The proceeding cites Zarif, and Bayside, Queens, Bank Melli and a UK investment bank left UNnamed. We'll have more on this.

 Now in August, Judge Preska has set this schedule: "ORDER re: [2308] Letter filed by 650 Fifth Avenue Company, Alavi Foundation. In light of Claimants' letter dated August 20, 2020 [dkt. no. 2308]: 1. Claimants may submit affidavits from Dr. Hassani and Mr. Dabiran no later than September 9, 2020. The Government may respond no later than September 16, 2020. 2. The probable cause hearing currently scheduled for October 5-6, 2020, is adjourned until October 13-14, 2020. The hearing will commence at 10:30 a.m. on October 13, 2020, in Courtroom 12A at 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY, and, if necessary, at 10:00 a.m. on October 14, 2020. SO ORDERED. ( Status Conference set for 10/13/2020 at 10:30 AM in Courtroom 12A, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007 before Judge Loretta A. Preska.) (Signed by Judge Loretta A. Preska on 8/21/2020)."

Lawyer: The US charged that the Alavi foundation was engaged in a continuing violation. But the 6th Circuit has ruled that with that charge, if the government sits on its hand for five years, it's too late. 

Next, Dan Ruzumna for 650 Fifth Ave Co.: " I've been looking at the Marsh case... There is a need for a hearing before taking of real estate."

 Judge Preska: The US is not saying no oral argument, just that there's not a need for an evidentiary hearing.  Ruzumna, after saying why a Doug Jensen is in but not in the case, says, "Briefing is not a hearing." 

Judge Preska: Anything else before we go to the next person? 

AUSA: About the two Alavi board members, we disagree with Ruzumna's characterization of those events. 

Ruzumna reads from a June 23 message, that it is not clear White and Case will represent the board member, in part due to unclarity about payment of fees. 

AUSA: I apologize, that is not information we had access to.

Now it's said White & Case's Jensen will not accept service of subpoena  for the two individuals until representation / fees are settled.  But a "hold notice" is sought, that documents not be destroyed until this is resolved.

 Judge Preska starts talking about a hearing, what would be filed before it. She says she assumes the property owner would waive the posting of a notice on the property itself.

 Inner City Press will continue to cover this case.
It is In re: 650 Fifth Avenue and Related Properties, 08-cv-10934 (Preska). 


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