OFAC blocks Russian firm’s property, interests in U.S. for dealings with North Korea

A Russian financial organization has earned a “designation” from the U.S. government for assisting North Korea in evading sanctions to access the international financial system, the Treasury Department’s arm overseeing foreign operations announced Wednesday.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the Russian-registered Russian Financial Society earned the designation for having provided (or attempted to provide) “financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services” in support of, U.S.-designated Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co. Ltd (Dandong Zhongsheng). OFAC said that entity is owned and controlled by, directly or indirectly, U.S.- and United Nations (UN)-designated Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank.

“Treasury continues to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against individuals and entities in Russia and elsewhere who facilitate illicit trade with North Korea.  Those who attempt to circumvent our authorities to provide the DPRK with access to international financial markets expose themselves to significant sanctions risk,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker in a release.

The “designation” means that, as of Wednesday, all property and interests in property of Russian Financial Society in the United States, or “In the possession or control of U.S. persons” must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

The agency added that its regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

Treasury Designates Russian Financial Institution Supporting North Korean Sanctions Evasion