The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Friday sanctioned one individual, two banks, and a trading company for their support to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs and to the U.S.-designated DPRK national airline. On May 24, 2022, the DPRK launched three missiles: one intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and two shorter range ballistic missiles. So far this year, the DPRK has launched 23 ballistic missiles, including six ICBMs — all in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs).
“Today Treasury is targeting supporters of the DPRK’s WMD and ballistic missile programs, as well as foreign financial institutions that have knowingly provided significant financial services to the DPRK government,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to implement and enforce existing sanctions while urging the DPRK to return to a diplomatic path and abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.”
Today’s action targets an individual who has directly supported or helped generate revenue for DPRK organizations that are linked to the development of ballistic missiles, along with three entities that are contributing or have contributed to procurement and revenue generation for DPRK organizations.
The United States remains committed to seeking dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK but will continue to address the threat posed by the DPRK’s unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs to the United States and the international community.
DPRK WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION SUPPORT
On August 30, 2010, the U.S. Department of State designated both the Munitions Industry Department (MID) and the Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 (“Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters”) for their involvement with or provision of support for the DPRK’s WMD and missile programs. Additionally, on April 1, 2022, OFAC designated the Ministry of Rocket Industry (MoRI) pursuant to E.O. 13382 for being owned or controlled by MID. Today’s action will further restrict the ability of both MID and SANS to utilize their subsidiaries and foreign-based agents to procure both financial and material support from DPRK representatives in foreign countries and from companies that provide services to circumvent sanctions.
OFAC is designating one individual and one entity engaged in various procurement activities on behalf of the DPRK. Jong Yong Nam is designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, SANS. Since 2019, Jong Yong Nam has been located in Minsk, Belarus, as a representative for a SANS-subordinate organization. The Air Koryo Trading Corporation (AKTC) is designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological or other support for, or goods or services in support of, MoRI. MoRI has sought to acquire various electrical components and dual-use goods, including transistors and hydraulic system components, through AKTC. AKTC has also been used to coordinate MoRI shipments to North Korea. A Dandong, China-based AKTC official coordinated shipments on behalf of MoRI, while O Yong Ho — previously designated by the Department of State pursuant to E.O. 13382 for having engaged in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to the proliferation of WMDs or their means of delivery by the DPRK — used AKTC to coordinate the shipment of luxury goods to the DPRK.
OFAC is also designating two Russian financial institutions for conducting transactions on behalf of DPRK entities.
The Far Eastern Bank is designated pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of U.S.-designated Air Koryo, the national airline of the DPRK. Far Eastern Bank has provided banking services on behalf of Air Koryo and other DPRK government organizations.
Bank Sputnik is designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for having provided, having attempted to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, the DPRK Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), a U.S.- and UN-designated entity. In addition to assisting the FTB with the facilitation of a payment for the use of Russian satellite services, Bank Sputnik holds a Russian ruble account for a U.S.-designated FTB front company, Korea Ungum Corporation. This account was used to conduct transactions between two DPRK-affiliated, Moscow-based businesses.
OFAC is taking these actions in the spirit of the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act of 2019, which imposes mandatory designations on foreign financial institutions that knowingly provide significant financial services to persons designated under DPRK-related authorities.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals or entities designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the individuals or entities designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from its ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list.