Cutting Edge Legal

HOME > News > Litvak Law Group in the News: Uri Litvak Represents Heir and Beneficiary of Iranian Princess Ashraf in Battle Over Manhattan Residence

Litvak Law Group in the News: Uri Litvak Represents Heir and Beneficiary of Iranian Princess Ashraf in Battle Over Manhattan Residence

The former Manhattan residence of Iranian Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of the last shah of Iran, has been put into bankruptcy and received a $10.3 million purchase offer from an anonymous buyer.

The seven-story townhouse located at 29 Beekman Place was listed earlier this year for $17.9 million and has been pitched to wealthy foreign nationals and governments as a potential embassy space because of its close proximity to the United Nations, according to court papers filed Tuesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The proposed buyer listed in court papers is an anonymous limited liability corporation. The property was listed for $49.9 million as recently as 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Princess Ashraf’s brother, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was deposed during Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979. An Associated Press obituary said Princess Ashraf lived a glamorous life and survived an earlier assassination attempt in Cannes in 1977. After her family was removed from power, Princess Ashraf lived in New York, Paris and Monte Carlo and advocated for women’s rights in an appointment to the U.N. She died in 2016 at the age of 96.

The Beekman Place townhouse and staff who have maintained the property have been entangled in lawsuits since her death. Azadeh Azari, 71, who worked for decades in Princess Ashraf’s private attaché, was awarded a $2.7 million judgment against the corporation that owns the townhouse, Wansdown Properties Corp. The award is intended to cover Ms. Azari’s pension, court papers said.

Wansdown’s chapter 11 filing halts a planned sheriff’s sale of the property to satisfy the judgment. The sale had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Princess Ashraf’s grandson Kamran Abbas-Vahid has also sued Wansdown and its officers, alleging they took advantage of Princess Ashraf in her later years and siphoned money from a foundation that owns the corporation for which he is the beneficiary.

“We intend to zealously pursue all available legal channels to remedy these abuses in order to preserve the princess’s legacy and secure the rightful inheritance of Mr. Abbas-Vahid,” his lawyer, Uri Litvak, said Thursday.

A lawyer representing Wansdown didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Bankruptcy will allow for “an organized sale process, not a fire sale” of the townhouse, Wansdown President and Director Gholam Reza Golsorkh said in a bankruptcy filing. Mr. Golsorkh was the head of Princess Ashraf’s private secretariat, court papers said.

The townhouse could now be subject to a chapter 11 auction and any sale of the property must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. Proceeds from a sale would pay down Wansdown’s debt, which also includes legal fees, taxes and utilities. Mr. Golsorkh said in a court fling that Wansdown believes Ms. Azari’s judgment “is far in excess” of what she is owed.

Ms. Azari’s lawyer, Nader Mobargha, told the Journal the bankruptcy filing was made in bad faith.

“It is a third attempt to deprive a 71-year old senior citizen, who loyally worked for Princess Ashraf for 49 years, of her undisputed pension,” Mr. Mobargha said. This issue has been litigated, and she won.”

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein has been assigned to the chapter 11 case.


For further details, please visit: