The US Department of the Treasury on Wednesday announced sanctions on Russian and Chinese companies for violating the economic embargo on North Korea.
The department accused China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co and its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte, of falsifying documents to facilitate shipments of alcohol and cigarettes to North Korea.
The shipments helped fuel what the Treasury alleged was a huge illicit cigarette trade earning Pyongyang US$1 billion a year.
It also blacklisted Russia-based Profinet Pte for violating UN sanctions by providing loading and refueling services to sanctioned ships at three eastern Russia ports.
The Treasury also named Profinet director-general Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, who it said was “personally involved” in deals with the North Koreans.
“The Treasury reminds the shipping industry ... of the significant risks posed by North Korea’s shipping practices,” it said in a statement.
The Chinese trading company said it has shipped cigarettes and alcohol to North Korea, but denied any wrongdoing.
“We shipped them through China customs clearance — it’s all legal and we have all the necessary legal formalities,” Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading director Liang Ye (梁燁) said.
“We can only suspend our business now,” Liang said. “The company might go bankrupt.”
“The 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 [North Korea],” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
“Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea,” he added.
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