Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday it's collected $7 million from Iran to give as compensation to American victims of state-sponsored terrorism.
The money was part of a civil forfeiture as the result of what the U.S. government described as an international conspiracy to violate U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran.
"The funds subject to today's stipulation had been destined to benefit criminal actors who engaged in an elaborate scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, one of the world's leading state sponsors of terrorism," said Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
"Thanks to assistance from our foreign partners and the combined efforts of the Criminal Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska, the FBI, and the [Internal Revenue Service], the forfeited funds will instead be used to directly compensate victims of state sponsors of terrorism."
The Justice Department accused three Iranian nationals and one American of defrauding South Korean banks by submitting paperwork indicating that Iranian companies were doing legitimate business with Korean companies. By doing so, the conspirators allegedly transferred about $1 billion in Iranian funds out of South Korea and into the world's markets.
Federal prosecutors indicted American Kenneth Zong in December 2016 for 47 counts of money laundering and violating sanctions regulations. He served five years in prison in South Korea for charges there as part of the scheme.