In August 2012, a silver Rolls-Royce pulled up to the majestic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado….At the wedding dinner, a man toasted the groom, Mitchell Zong, as the kind of person who “really bends over backwards to help friends and family.”
The wire transfers, all sent from Zong in South Korea, began as a trickle, court documents show: $30,000 to Canada, €50,000 to France, €149,000 to Italy, €116,000 to Germany. But there were dozens just like them over a few days in February 2011, and they kept getting larger. Within a week, the first recorded transfer to the United Arab Emirates—of $3.5 million—was posted, and many of the transfers thereafter were deposited into accounts based in that Gulf country. And the sums became increasingly eye-popping: On one day in May, for instance, there were $88 million in transfers; a week later, the one-day amount totaled more than $109 million.
Zong’s business was humming. His company, KSI Edjer/Anchore, had apparently secured a lucrative contract shipping marble to Farsoodeh and Company, an Iranian firm involved in mosque construction, via a Dubai-based tile importer, Orchidea Gulf Trading Co. The transfers were, in theory, related to Zong’s profits from his marble business.
In reality, according to the sworn affidavit of the U.S. special agent charged with investigating Zong in the civil forfeiture case, as well as Kenneth Zong’s subsequent criminal indictment, Zong and his partners—Houshang Hosseinpour, Pourya Nayebi and Houshang Farsoudeh, three Iranian businessmen with tentacular connections across the Middle East and Europe—made up the entire arrangement.
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