In re 650 Fifth Ave. and Related Properties

Civil Practice

, New York Law Journal


Judge Katherine Forrest

Assa Corp.'s and Assa Co. Ltd.'s (Assa Defendants) property interests include Manhattan's 650 Fifth Avenue (the 650 Properties). The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) found them alter egos of Bank Melli, an instrumentality of Iran—a "state sponsor of terrorism"—and themselves instrumentalities of Iran. Thus Assa Defendants' assets were subject to forfeiture and turnover under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The court granted certain plaintiffs partial judgment that under TRIA §201, the Assa Defendants' interests in the 650 Properties were "blocked assets" subject to execution by judgment creditors possessing valid terrorism-based judgments against Iran. OFAC's findings, as explained in its Blocking Notice to Assa Corp., were entitled to deference. Further, the Assa Defendants failed to exhaust administrative remedies over their claim that their Dec. 17, 2008, addition to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List denied them constitutional due process. They neither petitioned for administrative reconsideration before OFAC—as is their right under 31 CFR §501.807—nor filed a court challenge pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act.

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