US imposes sanctions on North Korea banker and 3 entities

The United States imposed North Korea-related sanctions Friday on a North Korean bank executive and company, a Russian bank, and a Chinese company and asked the U.N. to add them to its sanctions blacklist.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stressed in a statement imposing the new sanctions that “the United States will continue to enforce U.N. and U.S. sanctions and shut down illicit revenue streams to North Korea.”

“Our sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully-verified denuclearization of North Korea,” he said.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Ri Jong Won, the Foreign Trade Bank deputy representative in Moscow and an official of the North Korean government. The Foreign Trade Bank is already under U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

The Trump administration also imposed sanctions on Moscow-based Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank, saying it knowingly conducted or facilitated “a significant transaction on behalf of Han Jang Su, the Moscow-based chief representative of Foreign Trade Bank.” Han is also subject to U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

The Treasury Department said a 2016 U.N. Security Council resolution states that if a country determines that an individual is working on behalf of, or at the direction of a North Korean bank or financial institution that individual should be expelled.

“Therefore, Han Jang Su and Ri Jong Won should be expelled from Russia,” it said.

Nevertheless, the Treasury Department said Agrosoyuz continued to provide services to Han into 2018 and also “knowingly opened multiple bank accounts for at least three Foreign Trade Bank front companies.”

The U.S. also imposed sanctions on two front companies associated with the Foreign Trade Bank — the Korea Ungum Corporation based in Pyongyang and Dandong Zhongsheng Industry and Trade Co., Ltd., based in Lioning, China.

The U.S. Mission asked the U.N. Security Council later Friday to impose sanctions on Ri Jong Won and the three entities.

According to documents sent to council members and obtained by The Associated Press, the Netherlands, which chairs the committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea, sent a letter giving council members until 3 p.m. EDT on Aug. 10 to raise any objections.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said the request coincided with actions by the U.S. Treasury Department “and is part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to continue to implement existing sanctions, both domestic and multilateral, and cut off North Korea’s illicit financial activities.”

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