Treasury freezes assets of Iranian firm for aiding N. Korean weapons program

The Treasury Department took aim at North Korea's nuclear weapons program on Tuesday, freezing the assets of an Iranian firm suspected of financing the Korean regime's efforts.

The Treasury targeted Hong Kong Electronics -- an Iranian firm -- for funneling money to a North Korean bank and mining company suspected of facilitating the country's nuclear weapons program.

The State Department also targeted a North Korean trading company under Executive Order 13382, which reezes the assets of designated proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with them.

"North Korea uses front companies like Hong Kong Electronics and a range of other deceptive practices to obscure the true nature of its financial dealings, making it nearly impossible for responsible banks and governments to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate North Korean transactions," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

"Today's action is a part of our overall effort to prevent North Korea from misusing the international financial system to advance its nuclear and missile programs and to sell dangerous technology around the world," Levy added.

The Treasury said that Hong Kong Electronics had transferred millions to Korean banks to aid proliferation efforts since 2007.