Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, May 9, 2013

WHERE WILL NORTH KOREA'S FOREIGN TRADE BANK GO NOW ?

North Korean propaganda posters
The announcement, by the government-controlled Bank of China Ltd., of all the accounts of North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, is a significant step in reigning in North Korean weapons sales. The DPRK Foreign Trade Bank, reportedly a major facilitator of North Korean Arms transactions, is OFAC-sanctioned,  and there is a move in the EU to impose sanctions upon it in Europe.

The question arises: where will the bank go now ? It  sorely needs a new intermediary bank, to disguise the point of origin of its international transactions funding its arms sales. Most traditional offshore financial centres appear to be avoiding any contact; are Iran and Venezuela the only candidates that it can count on to disguise, and quietly transfer, its illicit profits ? I cannot think of any other close allies who would assist.

Nevertheless, it is possible that the DPRK will seek new venues, in its quest to disguise its global arms transactions payments, and compliance officers need to be vigilant. Have you seen new, large international wire transactions, coming from, or through Asia, that appear to be inconsistent with a bank client's normal lines of business ? Foreign Trade Bank needs a new pipeline, to receive and forward its arms payments; make sure you do not, unwittingly, facilitate any DPRK funds transfers.



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