US sanctions small Russian bank for transactions on behalf of North Korea
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the US remains committed to shutting down ‘illicit revenue streams to North Korea’
The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on a small Russian bank as well as Chinese and North Korean firms for handling financial transactions for North Korea in violation of United Nations bans aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme.
“The United States will continue to enforce UN and US sanctions and shut down illicit revenue streams to North Korea,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“Our sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea,” he added.
The Treasury Department sanctioned Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank for facilitating a “significant transaction” on behalf of an individual designated for weapons of mass destruction-related activities in connection with North Korea.
The Treasury said the individual – Han Jang-su, the Moscow-based representative of Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank – and his deputy, Ri Jong-won, should be expelled from Russia under UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.
Agrosoyuz is Russia’s 203rd largest bank with 11.3 billion roubles (US$179 million) in assets, according to Banki.ru.
Treasury said Agrosoyuz opened bank accounts for at least three front companies for FTB. It also processed more than US$8 million for Korea United Development Bank, Treasury said.
Treasury also sanctioned what it said are two FTB front companies, the China-based Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co and the Korea Ungum Corp, which is based in North Korea.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg