September 27, 2016 12:04
The U.S. State Department will soon announce legal measures targeting Hongxiang Industrial Development Co., a Chinese company suspected of helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons.
A source in Washington said the Justice Department and the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control are expected to announce the results of a probe into the Chinese company in violation of UN and U.S. sanctions.
The measures will include indictments of the heads of related businesses, the source added.
The Asan Institute for Policy Studies and U.S. think tank C4ADS in a recent report said Hongxiang supplied North Korea with high-grade aluminum ingots, ammonium paratungstate, aluminum oxide and tungsten trioxide, which are key ingredients in developing centrifuges for uranium enrichment and weapons of mass destruction.
A source said the violations are construed as crimes against the U.S. financial system, i.e. money laundering.
The State Department began investigating Hongxiang at the start of this year. When the Asan Institute tried to announce its research findings in May, the U.S. apparently asked it to postpone the announcement until September.
The Chinese government is now also investigating Hongxiang, which is responsible for the vast bulk of trade with North Korea, and the Dandong-based firm could well be shut down.
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