Out-of-pocket people continue to step forward as businesses’ owners are confirmed to have left the country.

Police this morning raided properties associated with two family-run Auckland businesses that allegedly owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to customers who were left without international travel and international money transfers.

Police are investigating Afsaneh Lotfi and Vahid Ahmad Khan Bigy, the owners of Mt Eden travel agency Dena Travel and international money transfer business Persian Network.

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Police investigate family-run travel agency

The couple have left New Zealand and are in Hong Kong.

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Their son and employee, Saman Bigy, is still in Auckland. He has previously said the business had "a bad day" but had not committed any crimes.

About 150 of their customers are without hundreds of thousands of dollars of international travel and money transferred through the businesses.

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe said a number of different locations were searched by police this morning.

"We executed search warrants this morning at locations do with our investigation," he said.

It was not revealed if any items were seized in the searches.

The family identify as Persian, and many of their affected customers are Iranian migrants living in New Zealand due to take trips home for religious holidays, or who had transferred money to and from the country.

One man, Siamak Farahi, says he is owed more than $110,000 transferred from his father in Iran that never appeared in his bank account. Wellington auditor Peyman Momenan had to pay for his wife's airfares twice when a cancelled ticket left her stranded in Iran this month.

Others say they are missing sums of between $17,000 and $90,000 or left without travel purchased for groups and priced upwards of $20,000.

Two months ago, Christchurch student Jamaledin, who did not want his last name used, paid $4200 for two return tickets to Iran in March for him and his wife, Atefeh.

He received a booking confirmation, but later discovered it had been cancelled.

It was to be the couple's first trip home since they moved to New Zealand three years ago, and now they are faced with repurchasing the travel or not going at all.

"I haven't visited my family for more than two years and I finally planned to do it. It's like they know that because we are people from another country we have not found out [New Zealand's] laws so we can be particularly targeted."

The 29-year-old, who is studying towards a PhD in engineering at the University of Canterbury, was trying to pursue a refund through Stella Travel Group, who Dena Travel worked as a broker for.

Stella did not return Herald calls by print time last night, but earlier this week confirmed it was granting refunds to customers who qualified.

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe said police had launched a formal investigation into the businesses and their owners.

"There are certainly a lot of aspects that are civil, but some that may be criminal and we are dealing with that now so have started an investigation," he said.

"We have got to the point where we are satisfied that there are aspects of it that aren't just civil."

He said the owners had left New Zealand and were in Hong Kong.

It was too early to say when, or if, charges would be laid.

Persian Network is a financial service provider registered with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and a member of the Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme. FDRS director Stewart Ayres said a complaint had been received and was being worked through, a process that could take three months.

A Financial Markets Authority spokesman said it did not comment on individual inquiries but confirmed a complaint had been received last month and passed to the police.

Dena Travel and Persian Network

What are these businesses?

Dena Travel is a travel broker working under Stella Travel Group that specialises in travel between New Zealand and the Middle East. It is owned by the same couple who run money transfer service Persian Network. Afsaneh Lotfi and Vahid Ahmad Khan Bigy opened their stores next to each other on Dominion Rd, Auckland.

What's the problem?

About 150 customers say they are without travel they have paid for or sums of money they have transferred from or to Iran.

What's being done about it?

The police have begun an official investigation, but it is believed many alleged victims will have to pursue their claims through the civil courts.

Dena Travel is a travel broker working under Stella Travel Group that specialises in travel between New Zealand and the Middle East. It is owned by the same couple who run money transfer service Persian Network. Afsaneh Lotfi and Vahid Ahmad Khan Bigy opened their stores next to each other on Dominion Rd, Auckland.

What's the problem?

About 150 customers say they are without travel they have paid for or sums of money they have transferred from or to Iran.

What's being done about it?

The police have begun an official investigation, but it is believed many alleged victims will have to pursue their claims through the civil courts.