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Iranian Indicted In U.S. For Allegedly Obstructing Justice


NEW YORK (RFE/RL) -- An Iranian man has been indicted in New York City for allegedly destroying documents related to the ownership of a Manhattan office building.

Farshid Jahedi, president of the Alavi Foundation, was indicted on May 6 for allegedly destroying documents connected to a U.S. investigation of the Alavi Foundation's relationship with Bank Melli Iran and the ownership of the building.

Jahedi has been charged with two felony offenses, which together could lead to a maximum 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned in New York Federal Court on May 8.

Jahedi was arrested in New York in December, shortly after reports suggested that the 36-story Manhattan building was secretly owned by the government of Iran in contravention of a rule requiring special permission from the U.S. Justice Department for Iranian businesses operating in the United States.

Jahedi was cautioned by U.S. authorities not to destroy any documents related to the investigation, but officials say FBI personnel observed Jahedi discarding torn documents into a public trash can.

U.S. officials said these documents concerned Assa Limited, Assa Corporation, and 650 Fifth Avenue Company, all entities allegedly secretly controlled by the government of Iran.

by RFE/RL correspondent Nikola Krastev
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