September 23, 2020 11:05
North Korea laundered money through major U.S. banks with the help of Chinese companies even when the U.S. tightened sanctions, a report reveals.
The report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and NBC analyzed data from the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and found that North Korea laundered some US$174.8 million in illegal funds through American banks.
Chinese companies moved large amounts of money through prominent banks in New York like JPMorgan Chase and the Bank of New York Mellon and transferred the money to shell companies in other countries such as Cambodia from 2008 to 2017.
But the final destination was North Korea. The Chinese firm that played the most prominent role was Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Corporation.
The companies took advantage of the fact that some U.S. banks like correspondent banks, which act as agents on behalf of smaller financial institutions or foreign banks, are somewhat lax in their background checks of customers when managing foreign exchange and facilitating international trade and finance.
North Korea and China founded several shell companies to deal with U.S. banks.
Meanwhile, the U.S. on Monday restored sanctions against Iran and blacklisted key Iranian officials and organizations it claims are involved in the exchange of missile technology with North Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump appears desperate to look tough in foreign policy as his chances of re-election slip. "My administration will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," he said in a statement Monday.
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