Prosecutors in the United States have indicted three people on charges of bank fraud and money laundering related to an alleged conspiracy to violate sanctions against North Korea.
According to an affidavit filed on Monday in Washington, D.C., Ri Jong Chol and Ri Yu Gyong, both citizens of the autocratic state, and Gan Chee Lim, a Malaysian national, purchased commodities from the U.S. on behalf of customers in North Korea between 2015 and 2016.
The documents allege that Chol, with the help of his daughter Gyong and business associate Gan, used a network of front companies to deliberately and repeatedly bypass restrictions on the ability of American banks to conduct business with North Korean actors, later using the same network to launder their proceeds.
John Demers, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in a statement that such activities only serve to “enrich the regime” in Pyongyang, allowing it to continue operations that “destabilize” international relations.
The defendants “lied to international financial institutions in order to dupe them into processing transactions in U.S. dollars which they would not otherwise have cleared,” he said.
In a nod toward the notorious authoritarianism and secrecy of the East Asian country, Demers added that the U.S. Department of Justice would continue to pursue and prosecute violators of sanctions against the state “so that one day that country may rejoin the community of nations.”
OCCRP / Balkantimes.press