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US to Seek Extradition of Man who Helped Iran Launder $1 Billion

Federal prosecutors in the United States say they want to extradite an American citizen imprisoned in South Korea for having laundered approximately $1 billion on behalf of Iran. Kenneth Zong, identified in court documents as a resident of Alaska, is accused of issuing fraudulent invoices for what the Associated Press says were construction materials in order to help Tehran gain access to cash that South Korea owed it for shipments of oil. Most of the funds allegedly were then funneled to Iran through the United Arab Emirates. South Korean authorities arrested and imprisoned Zong for his activities, which the US Justice Department says transpired in 2011 and 2012. In December 2018, a US federal court sentenced Zong’s son Mitchell to 30 months in prison and fined him $10,000 for participating in the scheme. This past April, a South Korean bank agreed to pay fines totaling $86 million for having allowed the cash transfers to take place, New York-based federal prosecutors said.