"From January 2011 through at least April 2014, Zong and four co-conspirators…allegedly conspired to evade the prohibitions of [the International Emergency Economic Powers Act] and Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations by engaging in false, fictitious and fraudulent transactions," Thursday’s release stated.
According to an indictment charging Zong, the transactions were arranged to convert about $1 billion worth of Iranian funds deposited in banks in South Korea into more-tradable currencies by defrauding South Korean regulators into thinking the operations were legitimate.
Zong allegedly transferred the money to more than 10 countries, including the United States, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, according to the release. It alleged that he received between $10 million and $17 million in payments for his services from Iranian nationals.
The US embargo on Iran, enforced through the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, bans the export of goods, services and technology to that country.