US court: Iran owes $1.4B over ex-FBI agent presumed dead

A U.S. judge has ordered Iran to pay $1.45 billion to the family of a former FBI agent believed to have been kidnapped by the Islamic Republic while on an unauthorized CIA mission to an Iranian island in 2007

The judgment this month comes after Robert Levinson’s family and the U.S. government now believe he died in the Iranian government’s custody, something long denied by Tehran, though officials over time have offered contradictory accounts about what happened to him on Kish Island.

“Iran’s conduct here is also unique, given that — astonishingly — it plucked a former FBI and DEA special agent from the face of the earth without warning, tortured him, held him captive for as long as 13 years, and to this day refuses to admit its responsibility,” the ruling by Judge Timothy J. Kelly said.

“And his wife and children, and their spouses and children — while keeping Levinson’s memory alive — have had to proceed with their lives without knowing his exact fate. These are surely acts worthy of the gravest condemnation,” the judge added.

Iranian state media and officials in Tehran did not immediately acknowledge the ruling in a case in which Iran offered no defense. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday from The Associated Press.

In a statement, Levinson’s family called the court’s award “the first step in the pursuit of justice.”

“Until now, Iran has faced no consequences for its actions,” the family said. “Judge Kelly’s decision won’t bring Bob home, but we hope that it will serve as a warning against further hostage taking by Iran.”

Levinson disappeared from Iran’s Kish Island on March 9, 2007. For years, U.S. officials would only say that Levinson, a meticulous FBI investigator credited with busting Russian and Italian mobsters, was working for a private firm on his trip.

In December 2013, the AP revealed Levinson in fact had been on a mission for CIA analysts who had no authority to run spy operations. Levinson’s family had received a $2.5 million annuity from the CIA in order to stop a lawsuit revealing details of his work, while the agency forced out three veteran analysts and disciplined seven others.

———

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

source.

more recommended stories



LuvNaughty | We're here to get you off LiL VAPE | Home of the vapour Latest Media News | Stay updated with us The Lazy Days | Procrastinate right