- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Obama administration warned U.S. banks on Thursday that North Korea might try to skirt financial sanctions by using various “deceptive practices.”

The advisory from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network represents the latest effort by the U.S. to make sure North Korea doesn’t evade U.N. Security Council sanctions intended to prevent the financing of nuclear and ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction programs or activities.

A second nuclear test by North Korea on May 25 has heightened global tensions.

Treasury has asked banks to be especially watchful and boost policing efforts.

It said deceptive practices by North Korea and North Korean entities may include suppressing the identity and location of parties originating a banking transaction, arranging funds to be transferred through a third party and repeated bank transfers that appear to have “no legitimate purpose.”

Treasury also urged banks to be on the lookout for routine use of cash couriers to move large amounts of money when there is no “credible explanation” for the transaction.

Against this backdrop, Treasury “advises all U.S. financial institutions to take commensurate risk mitigation measures.”

In addition, Treasury urged banks to “remain vigilant regarding attempts by North Korean customers to make large cash deposits into new or existing accounts” and to be on the lookout for counterfeit currency. The United States has long accused North Korea of counterfeiting U.S. currency.

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