During the Obama years in the White House, Congress felt that it was forced to create legislation that was extremely heavy-handed against the North Korean regime for reasons that it was thwarting sanctions by multiple nations. These sanctions were being avoided through Pyongyang’s clever use of foreign entities to launder their money and have access to global markets with US Dollars.
Obama was not happy about these sanctions and limitedly enforced them. Now that the Trump administration has made these sanctions in North Korea a high priority, the intelligence and financial communities are discovering the myriad ways that the North Korean government is getting around these sanctions and calling them on it.
The Trump administration has recently uncovered two companies that have been doing business with Pyongyang in both petroleum and arms/military equipment transactions and have been laundering money for North Korea in the multi-millions. The Department of Justice is demanding $11 million from both companies, drawing a hard red line when it comes to enforcing these sanctions.
The U.S. has accused two foreign companies of laundering money for the North Korean regime, according to a report from the Department of Justice.
The U.S. filed complaints against China-based Dandong Chengtai Trading Co. Ltd. and Singapore-based Velmur Management Pte Ltd. for acting as financial facilitators for North Korea. Representing the largest seizure of North Korean funds by the Department of Justice, the U.S. is demanding $11 million from the two companies.
One of the complaints alleges that “Dandong Chengtai and associated front companies controlled by Chi Yupeng, a Chinese national, comprise one of the largest financial facilitators for North Korea,” the report explained. The Chinese company conspired to evade sanctions and conduct U.S. dollar transactions for the North Korean Workers’ Party, a sanctioned entity. Velmur allegedly laundered money on behalf of sanctioned North Korean banks that sought to procure petroleum.
Interestingly, the Chinese government only two months ago had informed the North Korean leader that they would no longer be providing Chinese petroleum to that rogue nation due to UN-imposed sanctions. As well, Russians promised to keep a close watch on the nuclear and missile aspirations of the North Koreans.
It seems that in one, fell swoop, both of those promises through these possible proxies were broken. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Perhaps it’s perception. Most likely, it collusion and deception. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comes before all other considerations, after all.