0
0
0
(800) 475-5100   or   (319) 256-5100
 

 
Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
N Koreans Charged with Sanction Busting05/29 06:35

   The Justice Department has accused a network of North Korean and Chinese 
citizens of secretly advancing North Korea's nuclear weapons program by 
channeling at least $2.5 billion in illicit payments through hundreds of front 
companies.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department has accused a network of North 
Korean and Chinese citizens of secretly advancing North Korea's nuclear weapons 
program by channeling at least $2.5 billion in illicit payments through 
hundreds of front companies.

   The indictment, unsealed Thursday in Washington's federal court, is believed 
to be the largest criminal enforcement action ever brought against North Korea.

   The 33 defendants include executives of North Korea's state-owned Foreign 
Trade Bank, which in 2013 was added to a Treasury Department list of sanctioned 
institutions for transactions that facilitated the nuclear proliferation 
network, and cut off from the U.S. financial system.

   According to the indictment, the bank officials  one of whom had served 
in North Korea's primary intelligence bureau  set up branches in countries 
around the world, including Thailand, Russia and Kuwait, and used more than 250 
front companies to process U.S. dollar payments to further the country's 
nuclear proliferation program.

   The defendants used a variety of tactics to cover their tracks, including 
coded conversations; listing false destinations and customers on contracts and 
invoices; and creating new front companies after the banks caught onto the 
association with North Korea, the indictment says. Banks were routinely tricked 
into processing transactions they wouldn't have ordinarily done, according to 
prosecutors.

   Five of the defendants are Chinese citizens who operated covert branches in 
either China or Libya. Others who were charged include individuals who served 
at times as the bank's president or vice president.

   "Through this indictment, the United States has signified its commitment to 
hampering North Korea's ability to illegally access the U.S. financial system 
and (to limiting) its ability to use proceeds from illicit actions to enhance 
its illegal WMD and ballistic missile programs," acting U.S. Attorney Michael 
Sherwin for the District of Columbia said in a statement.

   The U.S. has frozen and seized about $63 million from the scheme since 2015, 
according to the indictment.

   The case was filed at a time of delicate relations between the U.S. and 
North Korea. The rapprochement that President Donald Trump has tried to 
engineer over the past two years has stalled badly, with the last face-to-face 
meeting between senior officials from the two countries taking place in October 
in Stockholm.

   Apart from recent speculation over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's health, 
which prompted public expressions of concern from Trump, the administration has 
been almost completely silent on North Korea. U.S. officials say they remain 
eager to restart negotiations but have gotten no indication from the North that 
any resumption is imminent.

   The indictment also reflects ongoing concerns about sanctions violations 
related to North Korea. Last month, for instance, United Nations experts 
recommended blacklisting 14 vessels for violating sanctions against North 
Korea, accusing the country in a report of increasing illegal coal exports and 
imports of petroleum products and continuing with cyber attacks on financial 
institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to gain illicit revenue.

   It was not immediately clear whether any of the defendants had lawyers.

 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN