Tuesday, June 30, 2009

U.S. targets North Korea missile proliferation network


U.S. targets North Korea missile proliferation networkWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday it has targeted an Iranian-based firm for its ties to North Korea`s missile proliferation network, a move that bans U.S. companies from dealing with it.
Hong Kong Electronics, located in Kish Island, Iran, has been named for transferring millions of dollars of proliferation-related funds to North Korea from Iran.
"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, undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Treasury said Hong Kong Electronics provided support to North Korea`s Tanchon Commercial Bank and Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).
Since 2007 Hong Kong Electronics has transferred funds to North Korea on behalf of KOMID, Treasury said.
Tanchon, a bank based in Pyongyang, North Korea, is the financial arm for KOMID, North Korea`s premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons, Treasury said.
The actions were taken under an executive order that allows the U.S. government to freeze assets of designated proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters and isolates them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems.
(Reporting by Nancy Waitz; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Original article

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