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Robert Levinson: Iran told to pay $1.45bn to missing American PI’s family

A US judge has ordered Iran to pay $1.45bn (1.23bn euros; £1.12bn) to the family of an ex-FBI agent who vanished during a visit to the country in 2007.

A ruling awarded Robert Levinson’s wife and children $1.35bn in punitive damages and $107m in compensatory damages for kidnapping.

There was no immediate response from the Iran government, which has always denied knowing his status or location.

US authorities and Mr Levinson’s family believe he died in Iranian custody.

In a statement, they described the ruling last Thursday by Judge Timothy Kelly of the US District Court in Washington as “the first step in the pursuit of justice”

“Until now, Iran has faced no consequences for its actions,” they added.

“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.”

Mr Levinson went missing during a trip to the Iranian island of Kish in the Gulf in March 2007.

The US government says Mr Levinson was working there as a private investigator on behalf of several large corporations.

However, US media report that he was on an unauthorised mission for the CIA, and that while on Kish he met an American fugitive Dawud Salahuddin.

He says Mr Levinson told him that he was investigating cigarette smuggling in the Gulf, and that after their meeting they were detained by Iranian security forces.

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Full Article:

In late 2013, Americans were shocked to learn that a former FBI agent turned private investigator who disappeared in Iran in 2007 was there on a mission for the CIA.

Interesting Book: Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran

Barry Meier. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-374-21045-8

New York Times reporter Meier crafts a gripping account of the life and disappearance of Bob Levinson, a DEA and FBI agent turned PI, who vanished in Iran in 2007.

Levinson’s work for the Feds gave him a wealth of experience with complex investigations, including cases against the Mafia, Colombian drug cartels, and Russian organized crime, through which he made important connections in the world of intelligence gathering.