US Treasury Department accuses N Korea of money laundering

Exclusive to The Middle East Online

Edited by Nelly Tawil

North Korea has been accused of using state-owned corporations and front companies to pay for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The U.S Treasury Department said it was taking new steps to “further isolate North Korea,” a cash-strapped military state that operates with few international allies, the announcement came on Wednesday.

Treasury officials have designated North Korea a “primary money laundering concern” under the Patriot Act in order to prohibit American banks from doing business with North Korean financial institutions.

The designation will require U.S. banks to “implement additional due diligence measures” to make sure North Korean banks don’t get access.

However, unlike most banks, North Korea’s financial institutions operate with little or no international supervision, ultimately allowing them to shift money for illicit purposes more smoothly as pointed out in a statement made by the Treasury.

Adam Szubin, the acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at Treasury, issued a statement saying that the United States and it’s international partners “remain clear-eyed about the significant threat that North Korea poses to the global financial system.”

“The regime is notoriously deceitful in its financial transactions in order to continue its illicit weapons programs and other destabilizing activities,” Szubin continued.

Some scholars have expressed doubts about American accusations against North Korea on money laundering and counterfeiting.