US indicts foreign national for laundering money from Iran through Canada, US, Korea and parking it in expensive real estate

By Christine Duhaime | December 18th, 2016

The US federal government has filed an indictment against a foreign national, Kenneth Zong, who resided in the US for allegedly laundering over $1 billion from Iran through Canada, the US and a number of other countries in violation of international sanctions law that prohibit providing financial services to Iranian foreign nationals in Iran and to Iranian banks. According to the federal indictment, the laundered funds were parked in real estate in Alaska and used to buy luxury vehicles, including a Porsche and a Bentley.

Mr. Zong is alleged to have concocted a scheme of moving money from Dubai (Iranians move money from Iran to Dubai without impediment), and from there to Korea and then to several countries, including the US and Canada on behalf of Iranians.

In order to make the scheme seem legitimate, Mr. Zong allegedly engaged in trade based money laundering, creating fake invoices for the purchase of marble from the Middle East under an Iranian controlled shell companies incorporated in Dubai called KSI Ejder Anchore and MSL & Co. Investment Trading Dubia, and then through another shell company in Kish Island, Iran, to justify why funds were being received and laundered from Iran in other countries through his bank accounts.

Mr. Zong is alleged to have set up other shell companies to move money including Dynamic First, AutoPex, Gem Art Corporation and Topex Corporation.

Mr. Zong allegedly was paid $17 million for laundering $1 billion over the course of several years. According to a civil complaint, Mr. Zong’s son met an Iranian foreign national at university who was the person who convinced the Zong family to engage in laundering funds from Iran.

Mr. Zong was indicted on 47 counts for a number of offenses including money laundering and is facing extradition from South Korea to Alaska.

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