A Russian bank, several associated firms, and one individual were the recipients of sanctions by the Federal government last week due to their alleged involvement with North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program.
Per a press release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank (Agrosoyuz) stands accused of knowingly carrying out a significant transaction on behalf of North Korea’s foreign exchange arm, the Foreign Trade Bank (FTB). Along with Agrosoyuz, OFAC declared FTB’s representative Ri Jong Won a new member of the list, as well as two front companies for the FTB – Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co., Ltd. (Zhongsheng) and Korea Ungum Corporation (Ungum).
According to OFAC, Agrosoyuz has had significant historical ties to North Korea, beginning in 2009 when the company allegedly funneled millions of dollars through North Korean banks. They allege the company of transferring $5.5 million to another North Korean bank sanctioned by the U.S. and U.N. in 2013, and allege another transfer totaling $8 million the following year, holding another $3 million in reserve. Earlier this year Agrosoyuz allegedly allowed another investment of $2.5 million in its bank by another North Korean front company.
Per OFAC, Agrosoyuz continues to host bank accounts for Ri Jong Won today despite U.N. mandates that Russia expel him. The bank is also accused of continuing to host an account for Han Jang Su, the chief representative of FTB and an individual previously listed by OFAC.
The listing by OFAC means that the Federal government will block interests in property within the jurisdiction of the United States held by the listed organizations or people, and it prohibits U.S. citizens from conducting business with such people.
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