South Korea Has Detained a Korean-American Man Charged with Massive Billion-Dollar Iran Wire Fraud

A Korean-American man was detained by Republic of Korea authorities on charges that he had transferred more than $1 billion to Iran, a staggering sum in one of the world’s largest cases of wire fraud.


The Seoul Central Prosecutor’s Office would only identify the 73-year old man by his surname, Chung. Chung is suspected of making fraudulent transfers in 2011 from the Iranian central bank’s won account at a South Korean bank by using forged invoices.


It was not immediately clear if these transactions were in relation to Iran’s nuclear weapons program or part of a criminal operation. Seoul prosecutors theorized that more than one person was involved in the procedure that took advantage of then-lax procedures around international transfers.

South Korea was unable to identify Chung’s Iranian counterparts due to the lack of an agreement between the two nations to cooperate in the event of a criminal case.