Seoul Tells U.S. About N.Korea's Foreign Bank Accounts

      June 10, 2009 08:52

      South Korea has told the U.S. what it knows about some 10 to 20 foreign bank accounts North Korea holds and which are possibly connected with illegal transactions or money laundering.

      A government official said Seoul "gave the U.S. information on some of the North Korean bank accounts which South Korean enterprises or civic groups engaged in projects in the North have used when remitting money." He said the accounts are suspected of being used in transactions related to counterfeiting foreign currencies, drug dealing and money laundering, he added. He said most of these accounts are in Chinese banks, and some in Switzerland and elsewhere.

      That suggests the U.S. has started preparations for financial sanctions on the North. The U.S. apparently also asked other countries with dealings with the North for cooperation.

      South Korean intelligence authorities are believed to know the names and bank accounts of North Korean companies disguised as trading firms which are suspected of dealing with high-quality dollar forgeries, the so-called "supernotes," or drugs.

      Meanwhile, North Korea is also apparently bracing itself for international financial sanctions by opening borrowed-name accounts overseas.

      South Korea last week slapped financial sanctions on three North Korean companies. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said it imposed sanctions on three North Korean companies on June 1 in compliance with a UN Security Council decision after the North launched a long-range rocket in April. The sanctions ban domestic companies to deal with these North Korean firms, whose assets here are now frozen.

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