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Treasury targets Chinese, Russian shipping firms for violating North Korea sanctions
The Treasury Department on Wednesday targeted three Chinese, Russian and Singaporean shipping firms for violating financial sanctions meant to cut off foreign aid to North Korea's economy.
The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers sanctions, banned three shipping companies and one Russian national from the U.S financial system and froze any and all of their assets based in the country.
The new penalties are the Treasury Department's latest effort to punish North Korea's economic benefactors as the Trump administration attempts to cement a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government.
"Treasury will continue to implement existing sanctions on North Korea, and will take action to block and designate companies, ports, and vessels that facilitate illicit shipments and provide revenue streams to the DPRK," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday, using an acronym for North Korea's official name.
"Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea."
Treasury accused China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co, its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte. Ltd., and Russia-based Profinet Pte of helping North Korea import goods banned from the country under U.S. and United Nations sanctions.
Dailan and SINSMS are accused of helping North Korea import alcohol, tobacco and cigarette-related products by using falsified shipping documents and advising the Kim regime on how to evade shipping restrictions.
Profinet is accused of providing port services for North Korean-flagged vessels at least six times, including ships previously targeted with sanctions by the U.S. for illegally importing oil.
Profinet director general Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov is also accused of personally orchestrating North Korea-related deals and coordinating with the North Korean representatives in Russia.
"The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore, and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under U.S. law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks," Mnuchin said.