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Journalist kidnapped in 1984, wife file suit over allegedly unsatisfied final judgment against Islamic Republic of Iran

By Bree Gonzales | Jan 22, 2019

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) – A journalist kidnapped in Lebanon in 1984 and his wife allege banks have engaged in a conspiracy and are seeking to transfer assets to them that were allegedly fraudulently transferred.

Dr. Lucille Levin and Jeremy Levin filed a complaint on Dec. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Clearstream Banking S.A.; Banca UBAE, SpA; JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.; Central Bank of Iran, also known as Bank Markazi; and the Islamic Republic of Iran seeking declaratory judgment.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that they hold an unsatisfied final judgment in the total amount of $28.8 million plus post-judgment interest against judgment debtor Islamic Republic of Iran. The suit states the judgment entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Feb. 6, 2008, and was from the 1984 kidnapping of Jeremy Levin in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

The plaintiffs allege the defendants "entered into a conspiracy with the actual intent to hinder, delay and defraud plaintiffs and other Iranian judgment creditors by attempting to conceal Markazi’s, and therefore Iran’s, interest in securities entitlements relating to certain global bonds and then claim the financial assets cannot be attached because they are outside the jurisdiction of United States courts."

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek an order to set aside the fraudulent transfers, and turn those fraudulently transferred assets over to the plaintiffs, plus compensatory damages together with interest at the legal rate, attorneys' fees and further relief as the court may deem appropriate. They are represented by Suzelle M. Smith and Don Howarth of Howarth & Smith in Los Angeles, California.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York case number 1:18-cv-12217-VEC

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Howarth & Smith U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

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