The Korea Herald


US slaps new sanctions against 6 N. Koreans, 2 entities for financing NK WMD programs

By Yonhap

Published : March 28, 2024 - 09:24

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This file photo shows the Treasury Department. (Getty Images) This file photo shows the Treasury Department. (Getty Images)

The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on six North Korean nationals and two third-country entities for their role to help finance Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction programs, the Treasury Department said.

In coordination with South Korea, the department announced sanctions targeting agents of designated North Korean banks as well as companies that employ North Korean IT workers abroad, as it accused them of helping generate revenue for the recalcitrant regime in Pyongyang.

South Korea also sanctioned four of the North Koreans and the two same entities after Seoul and Washington held their sixth session of the Working Group on DPRK Cyber Threats in Washington this week. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"These actors, operating primarily through networks located in Russia and China, orchestrate schemes, set up front or shell companies, and manage surreptitious bank accounts to move and disguise illicit funds, evade sanctions, and finance the DPRK's unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs," the department said in a press release.

Among the sanctioned individuals are Yu Pu-ung and Ri Tong-hyok, both of whom are China-based representatives of Tanchon Bank. The bank is the financial arm of the North's Korea Mining Development Corporation and plays a role in financing KOMID's sales of ballistic missiles, according to the department.

Also sanctioned is O In-chun, a Russia-based representative of Korea Daesong Bank, which is operated by Office 39, an agency that the department said is used by the North to engage in illicit economic activities, manage slush funds and generate revenue for the North Korean leadership.

The others are Han Chol-man, a China-based representative of Kumgang Bank; Jong Song-ho, a Russia-based representative of Jinmyong Joint Bank; and Jon Yon-gun with ties to Pioneer Bencont Star Real Estate, a United Arab Emirates-based company sanctioned Wednesday.

In collaboration, Seoul also designated Yu, Jong, Han and O for evading sanctions and funding the North's nuclear and missile programs through illegal financing and money laundering activities. Jon had already been sanctioned in May last year.

The two sanctioned entities are Limited Liability Company Alis, a Vladivostok-based company subordinate to US-designated Chinyong, and Pioneer Bencont Star Real Estate subordinate to Chinyong.

"Today's joint action reflects our commitment to disrupt the DPRK's efforts to generate revenue for its illicit and destabilizing activities," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said.

"The United States, along with our South Korean partners, will continue to take action to safeguard the international financial system and prevent the DPRK from funding its illegal weapons programs," the official added. (Yonhap)