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Iranian Foundation Head Arrested In U.S. For Obstruction Of Justice

NEW YORK (RFE/RL) -- Farshid Jahedi, the president of the New York-based Alavi Foundation, has been arrested in New York on charges of obstruction of justice.

U.S. authorities claim Jahedi destroyed documents concerning his foundation's relationship with Bank Melli of Iran and the ownership of a Manhattan office building.

Bank Melli is designated by the United States as a supporter of Iran's nuclear program.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Department sought to seize the 40 percent stake in a Manhattan skyscraper held by one of Jahedi's companies, Assa Co. Ltd., claiming that Assa is an intermediary for Bank Melli and funnels money from the United States to the Iranian bank.

Jahedi's Alavi Foundation describes itself as a philanthropic organization devoted to the promotion of Islamic and Persian culture. Prosecutors say it is a successor to the organization once used by the Shah of Iran to support Iranian interests in the United States.

With material from agency reports