US blacklists North Korean bank

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2011 3:18 PM
US blacklists North Korean bank

The U.S. Treasury Department says it has blacklisted North Korea's Bank of East Land, describing it as a conduit for the communist nation's trade in conventional weapons.

The designation Tuesday came after President Barack Obama signed an executive order targeting the North's trade in arms, import of luxury goods and illicit activities including money laundering.

David Cohen, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement the designation of the Bank of East Land "exposes North Korea's efforts to circumvent sanctions to conduct illicit activities and degrades its ability to abuse the international financial system."

Treasury alleged the bank had facilitated financial transactions and transferred funds for Green Pine, a company linked to North Korean intelligence and sanctioned under the executive order for exporting arms or related material. The statement said in 2007 and 2008 the bank facilitated transactions involving Green Pine and designated Iranian financial institutions, including Bank Melli and Bank Sepah.

Green Pine specializes in the production of maritime military craft and armaments, such as submarines, military boats and missile systems, and has exported torpedoes and technical assistance to Iranian defense-related firms, the statement said.

U.N. sanctions, most recently imposed in 2009 in response to nuclear and missile tests, bar North Korea from weapons trading.

International talks aimed at getting North Korea to end its nuclear weapons programs have been stalled for two years.