September 23, 2023

How North Korea takes advantage of global corruption to evade sanctions

Making sanctions work requires strengthening weak anti-corruption rules that the DPRK exploits for illicit activities

Kleptocrats and sanctions-evaders have quite a bit in common — both seek out countries with weak anti-corruption rules and regulations. The same institutions that the world's wealthy exploit to hide their assets are the same ones that North Korea and other countries use to skirt U.S. and international sanctions. An effective sanctions regime thus starts by tackling systemic corruption. 

Earlier this year, U.S. President Joe Biden signaled his administration’s intention to prioritize global anti-corruption efforts, labeling the fight against corruption and kleptocracy as a core national security interest. Putting action behind policy, the White House debuted an ambitious anti-corruption strategy this month that aims to reinforce existing domestic anti-corruption efforts and bolster foreign partnerships to curb illicit finance.