Iran Ordered to Pay $1.45B to Family of Jewish Former FBI Agent Robert Levinson

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Daniel Levinson shows a picture of his father, ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, holding his grandson Ryan during a press conference with his mother Christine at the Swiss embassy in Tehran, Iran, on Dec. 22, 2007. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images via JTA.org)

By Marcy Oster

Iran has been ordered to pay $1.45 billion to the family of Robert Levinson, the Jewish former FBI agent who went missing 13 years ago in Iran and is now believed to be dead.

The U.S. District Court in Washington ordered Iran to pay Levinson’s family $1.35 billion in punitive damages and $107 million in compensatory damages for his kidnapping, The Associated Press reported.


The ruling by Judge Timothy J. Kelly was published on Thursday. The lawsuit, filed in March, 2017, seeks unspecified damages from Iran, in part for inflicting emotional distress on Levinson’s wife and seven children.

Levinson, of Coral Springs, Florida, who was also a private investigator and a part-time consultant for the CIA, was 58 when he disappeared in 2007 on Iran’s Kish Island what was later revealed to be a rogue CIA operation.

The family announced in March that Levinson had died in Iranian custody after receiving corroborating evidence from U.S. officials. They said his death came prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The court cited the case of American Jewish college student Otto Warmbier, who died in 2017 shortly after being freed from captivity in North Korea, in explaining its decision to award such a large amount of money to Levinson’s family, according to the AP.

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