DPRK overseas financial organizations

They have been in the news quite a bit recently.

According to the Donga Ilbo:

The U.S. has reportedly confirmed that nine of the 15 financial institutions North Korea operates overseas are involved in illegal activity.

Accordingly, the nine and more than 20 other institutions and individuals, including financiers who oversee the institutions, will be subject to Washington’s new financial sanctions announced against Pyongyang.

A government source in Seoul said Wednesday, “The U.S. government and intelligence are pointing to Kim Tong Myong, president of Danchon Commercial Bank of the North. The bank helped to amass slush funds overseas for the North.”

“Washington judges that organizations subject to Executive Order 13382, which regulates weapons of mass destruction, are also involved in other activities, including the illegal trade of luxury goods and money laundering. The U.S. is considering including many such organizations in the new executive order.”

Under Executive Order 13382, three financial institutions and 18 trading companies were subject to financial sanctions. The imminent addition of six more North Korean financial institutions abroad will further put the Stalinist country in a bind.

On Washington’s plan to impose additional sanctions against Pyongyang, South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said, “Measures designed to impose specific sanctions on organizations and individuals and freeze assets will come in two weeks.”

And according to the Choson Ilbo:

Hong Kong financial authorities are inspecting all banks in the territory to find out if North Korea’s Taepung International Investment Group has opened secret accounts there. Taepung has the unenviable task of attracting foreign investment to the North.

According to information obtained by the Chosun Ilbo, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in late July asked banks to report no later than Aug. 3, if they had engaged in “any kind of transactions” with four companies over the past six years.

The four are Taepung International Investment Hong Kong, Taepung International Investment Holdings Virgin Islands, Taepung International Investment Group, and Taifung (Taepung’s Chinese pronunciation) International Investment Group.

This was the first time Taepung has been targeted for financial sanctions by a third country.

A source in Hong Kong said it seems authorities have asked all Hong Kong branches of about 190 banks from the U.S., Europe and Asia for data about the four Taepung affiliates and two Iranian firms.

Taepung Hong Kong is believed to be a paper company. In April it registered at Rm.# 2508, Lippo Centre, 89 Queensway, Hong Kong, but the only office at the address is a local law firm.

Read the full stories here:
US: 9 Illegal NK Financial Entities Abroad Confirmed
Donga Ilbo
8/5/2010

Hong Kong Looks for Secret N.Korean Accounts
Choson Ilbo
8/5/2010

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