Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re 650 Fifth Avenue and Related Properties

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 6, 2013

IN RE 650 FIFTH AVENUE AND RELATED PROPERTIES.

OPINION & ORDER

KATHERINE B. FORREST, District Judge.

Five groups of plaintiff-judgment creditors to this asset forfeiture and turnover action - the Rubin, Greenbaum, Acosta, Beer, and Kirschenbaum plaintiffs[1] - have moved for partial summary judgment against defendants Assa Corp. and Assa Co., Ltd. (collectively, the "Assa Defendants"). The movant plaintiffs seek a determination that the Assa Defendants' interests in various properties, including the building at 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (the "650 Properties"), are "blocked assets" pursuant to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 ("TRIA") and are thus subject to execution and turnover by terrorism victim judgment creditors of the Islamic Republic of Iran ("Iran").[2]

Plaintiffs' argument is straightforward: the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control ("OFAC") has declared the Assa Defendants to be "front companies" for Bank Melli, undisputedly an instrumentality of Iran. TRIA permits judgment creditors such as the movant plaintiffs to obtain turnover orders against assets of "agencies or instrumentalities" of Iran. As OFAC has declared the Assa Defendants to be alter egos of an instrumentality of Iran, their assets are thus subject to turnover. The Assa Defendants dispute that the informal OFAC determinations are either admissible or conclusive, and further claim that the OFAC designation violated defendants' procedural due process rights.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment.

I. STATUTORY BACKGROUND

Several statutory and administrative provisions are relevant to the resolution of the pending motion.

a. TRIA

First, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 ("TRIA"), codified in a note to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, permits a judgment creditor of a terrorist state plaintiff to execute against "blocked" assets of a terrorist party. TRIA states, in relevant part:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law..., in every case in which a person has obtained a judgment against a terrorist party on a claim based upon an act of terrorism, or for which a terrorist party is not immune under section 1605(a)(7) of title 28, United States Code, the blocked assets of that terrorist party (including the blocked assets of any agency or instrumentality of that terrorist party) shall be subject to execution or attachment in aid of execution in order to satisfy such judgment to the extent of any compensatory damages for which such terrorist party has been adjudged liable.

TRIA § 201(a), Pub. L. No. 107-297, Title II, 116 Stat. 2337 (2002)(emphasis added).

TRIA defines the term "blocked asset" as "any asset seized or frozen by the United States... under sections 202 and 203 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ["IEEPA"] (50 U.S.C. 1701; 1702)." TRIA § 201(d)(2).

Finally, the statute defines a "terrorist party" as "a terrorist, terrorist organization...., or a foreign state designated as a state sponsor of terrorism under section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C.App. 2405(j)) or section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2371)." TRIA § 201(d)(4). Iran has been designated as a "state sponsor of terrorism" under section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 since January 19, 1984. See State Sponsors of Terrorism, U.S. Dep't of State, at http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/c14151.htm (last visited May 29, 2013). Bank Melli is an instrumentality of Iran. See In re 650 Fifth Ave. and Related Properties , 881 F.Supp.2d 533, 538 n.6 (S.D.N.Y. 2012)(citing Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran , 609 F.3d 43, 48 (2d Cir. 2010)); Estate of Heiser, et al. v. Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, New York Branch, No. 11 Civ. 1601 (PKC), 2013 WL 342684 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 29, 2013).

b. Executive Order 13382

In 2005, President Bush delegated to the Department of Treasury the authority to designate the entities whose assets are blocked under IEEPA, and any entity "owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, " any such blocked party. See Exec. Order 13382, Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass. Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters, 70 FR 38567 (June 28, 2005),

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Only a few undisputed facts are material to the instant motion.

First, the United States Department of Treasury maintains a "Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List" ("SDN list"). OFAC, the Treasury office that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.