A Korean American is being detained in South Korea for illegally transferring over $1 billion (1.09 trillion won) in Iranian money, according to Reuters. The money has been frozen in South Korea due to international sanctions.
The 73-year-old man, who had contacts in Iran and the United Arab Emirates, was suspected of transferring money into accounts in third countries. Due to the size of the withdrawals, prosecutors suspect there was more than one person involved.
What was not immediately clear was whether this was an attempt to break sanctions targeting Iran's controversial nuclear program, or whether this was just a criminal scam, albeit a very large one. A prosecutor with direct knowledge of the case declined to comment on whether the transfers violated the sanctions. …
Korean exporters and traders must get prior clearance from the government for products they plan to sell to Iran.
"This is a criminal case perpetrated by an individual to circumvent the Korea-Iran won transaction system and the Bank of Korea's approval system," the prosecutors' office said in a statement.
One unnamed prosecutor told Reuters, "we believe involvement of (entities in) Iran is possible.