Treasury targets North Korean-run IT companies with sanctions

Treasury targets North Korean-run IT companies with sanctions
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The Treasury Department on Thursday imposed financial penalties on two information technology companies and one Chinese national with ties to North Korea for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), which administers sanctions, targeted China-based Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Co., Ltd., also known as China Silver Star, its North Korean CEO Jong Song Hwa, and its Russia-based affiliate Volasys Silver Star.

The two companies and their leader are banned from the U.S. financial system, and U.S persons and firms are prohibited from conducting businesses with them.

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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Trump signs first 2019 'minibus' spending package | Mueller probing transactions by Russian organizers of Trump Tower meeting | Stocks brush off trade fears On The Money: Cohen reportedly questioned over Trump dealings with Russia | Trump hails economy | Tells workers to 'start looking' if they want a better job | Internal poll shows tax law backfiring on GOP Trump announces tariffs on 0B in Chinese goods MORE said in a statement that the penalties “are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals.”

The Treasury Department alleges that China Silver Star and Volasys Silver Star are run and staffed by North Korean executives and employees, with revenue going to the North Korean regime. The companies and their executives are accused of violating sanctions banning the exportation of North Korean workers and operating information technology services in North Korea.

Thursday’s penalties are the latest round of tough sanctions on a slew of technology, shipping and manufacturing firms suspected of providing services or economic aid to the Kim Jong Un regime.

The Trump administration has sought to ramp up pressure on Kim to strike a deal to halt North Korea’s nuclear program in part by penalizing Chinese and Russian firms that the increasingly isolated country depends on to keep its economy afloat.