Iranian official charged in plot to kidnap US citizen

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NEW YORK – An Iranian intelligence official and three others were charged with conspiring to kidnap a critic of the country’s government who was born in Iran but is now a US citizen.

The intelligence official, Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani, directs a network that has targeted in the US, France and the United Arab Emirates, US prosecutors in Manhattan said.

Farahani and three members of his intelligence network planned to kidnap the unnamed US citizen – a journalist, author, and human rights activist who lives in Brooklyn – as part of a government program to silence its critics.

They’re charged with kidnapping conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, sanctions conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. All four are in Iran, but a fifth person based in California is accused of providing the other four with financial services.

Niloufar “Nellie” Bahadorifar was arrested July 1 in California on charges she aided the alleged kidnapping plot by paying a private investigator to track the US citizen on Farahani’s behalf.

She’s charged with conspiring to commit bank and wire fraud, to violate sanctions against Iran and to launder money.

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