The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday added two foreign entities, a DPRK company and a North Korean individual to its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons.
Among the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) new designations were a small Russian bank, two front companies for the North’s sanctioned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) and a Russia-based DPRK citizen.
The new, unilateral sanctions come even as evidence mounts that the Washington-led “maximum pressure” campaign is waning, with numerous instances of recent sanctions evasion coming to light.
“The United States will continue to enforce UN and U.S. sanctions and shut down illicit revenue streams to North Korea,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release accompanying the designations.
“Our sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully-verified denuclearization of North Korea.”
According to OFAC, the Russian-registered Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank knowingly conducted or facilitated “a significant transaction on behalf of Han Jang Su, the Moscow-based chief representative of Foreign Trade Bank.”
Bloomberg notes the Russian bank is the 203rd largest bank in the country with $179 million in assets.
The OFAC press release adds the bank transacted with the DPRK in the past, transferring funds for other North Korean banks which were also later sanctioned.
“As of mid-2016, Agrosoyuz had opened new accounts for a North Korean front company, and it processed over $8 million and held the equivalent of over $3 million on behalf of Korea United Development Bank (KUDB),” the press release reads, adding the bank continued to provide services to Han this year.
OFAC also sanctioned the China-based Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade, along with the Korea Ungum Corporation as front companies of the FTB.
“In 2017, Han Jang Su opened bank accounts for Zhongsheng at Agrosoyuz. In addition, as of early 2018, Agrosoyuz allowed a North Korean front company to invest almost $2.5 million in Russian rubles into an account with Agrosoyuz,” the press release adds.
Another FTB representative based in Moscow called Ri Jong Won was added to the SDN list, with OFAC calling for both Ri and Han to be expelled from Russia in accordance with UN Resolution 2321.
“If a Member State determines that an individual is working on behalf of or at the direction of a DPRK bank or financial institution, Member States shall expel the individual from their territories,” OFAC said.
“Therefore, Han Jang Su and Ri Jong Won should be expelled from Russia.”
During a hearing with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held in Washington on July 26, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the U.S. Treasury was not short of targets for additional sanctions.
“It is the case that this Administration is continuing to work on enforcement actions for the existing sanctions regime,” Pompeo said. “We’re not going to let it wander off, we’re not going to let it weaken. You can’t rename a ship and get out from underneath the sanctions regime.”
A report published on Thursday by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) also revealed that Russia has let thousands of North Korean laborers into the country to work and issued new permits for such labor, also in violation of UNSC sanctions against the DPRK.
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Featured Image: The US Treasury Department by romanboed on 2014-07-29 16:09:37