The Justice Department has accused North Korea and China of secretly advancing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program by providing at least $ 2.5 billion in illegal payments through leading network of Chinese citizens.
The indictment, which was not released Thursday in Washington’s federal court, is believed to be the largest criminal enforcement action ever brought against North Korea.
The 33 defendants include executives from North Korea’s state-owned Foreign Trade Bank, which was added to the Treasury Department’s list of approved companies for transactions that facilitated the nuclear proliferation network in 2013. Disconnected from the financial system.
According to the indictment, bank officials – one of whom served in North Korea’s primary intelligence unit – set up branches around the world, including Thailand, Russia and Kuwait, and used more than 250 leading companies to carry out US dollar payments and the country’s nuclear dissemination program.
Defendants employed a variety of tactics to cover their tracks, including encoded conversations; Listing the wrong places and customers in contracts and invoices; The charges stem from the creation of new leading corporations after the banks got in touch with North Korea. According to prosecutors, banks are routinely tricked into processing transactions they don’t normally do.
Five of the defendants were Chinese citizens, who operated secret branches in China or Libya. Others who have been accused include sometimes serving as chairman or vice president of the bank.
“Through this indictment, the United States has pledged to restrain North Korea’s ability to illegally access the United States financial system and restrict its ability to use proceeds from illegal activities to promote illegal WMD and ballistic missile programs,” Michael Sherwin, a lawyer for the District of Columbia, said in a statement.
According to the indictment, the U.S. Approximately 63 million have been terminated from this project since 2015.
The case was recorded during a delicate relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. President Donald Trump’s efforts as an engineer over the past two years have been strained, with face-to-face meetings between senior officials of the two countries taking place in Stockholm in October.
Despite recent speculation about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which prompted public outcry from Trump, the administration has remained completely silent on North Korea. U.S. officials say they are interested in restarting the talks, but have received no indication from the north that any restart is immediate.
The charge also reflects current concerns over North Korea’s sanctions. Last month, for example, United Nations experts recommended that 14 vessels be placed on the blacklist for violating sanctions against North Korea, accusing the country of increasing illegal coal exports and imports of petroleum products and launching cyber attacks on financial institutions and cryptocurrency transactions. Earnings.