U.S. Treasury issues alert on North Korea to financial institutions

U.S. Treasury issues alert on North Korea to financial institutions
U.S. Treasury issues alert on North Korea to financial institutions

The U.S. Treasury issued an alert to financial institutions about the results of an intergovernmental meeting that blacklisted North Korea as a money laundering concern.

The alert follows a measure taken by the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in 2016, that identified North Korea as a jurisdiction of money laundering concern under the USA PATRIOT Act, according to a FinCEN spokesman.

On Feb. 24, the FATF designated North Korea as the country with the highest risk of engaging in money laundering and terrorist financing.

In a previous statement, the Treasury said North Korea’s financial institutions receive marginal supervision, which makes it easier for the regime to move money across borders for illicit purposes.

In March, three North Korean banks were banned from the global messaging network SWIFT, which connects banks and facilitates transactions.

North Korea has also been linked to cyberattacks on financial institutions, and to the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Federal Reserve in 2016.

North Korea may have breached the banks to create a network of accounts to move around embezzled funds, most likely being used to finance its nuclear weapons development.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the U.S. Treasury blacklisted North Korea money laundering. The Treasury identified North Korea as a money laundering concern in 2016 and recently issued an alert to financial institutions about the outcome of the recent FATF meeting.

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