"United" Nations Europe Money Laundering Proliferation Sanctions

U.N. report: SWIFT banking network violated North Korea asset freeze

Since last year, this blog has covered SWIFT’s continued provision of financial messaging services to North Korean banks, despite suspicions that North Korea was involved in stealing almost $100 million from the Bangladesh Bank by hacking into SWIFT’s messaging software. Later, I wrote about an effort in the last Congress to ban North Korean banks from …

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Africa Europe Human Trafficking

Treasury fires a broadside at Kim Jong-un’s slave labor racket

This blog has promoted the outstanding investigative work and legal analysis of the Leiden Asia Center in exposing North Korea’s rental of forced labor to European shipyards and construction companies, under unsafe and exploitative conditions. That work, ably led by Remco Breuker, yielded this Vice documentary and reports filled with actionable information.  Recently, Breuker wrote a …

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Defectors Europe Money Laundering Sanctions

Yet another North Korean slush fund manager vanishes, this time in Europe

I’m no expert, but I don’t see how this could be a coincidence. A North Korean official managing money for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Europe has disappeared, raising speculation that he might have defected with a large amount of state funds, a local media report said Friday. Citing anonymous sources, major local daily newspaper …

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"United" Nations Europe Money Laundering Sanctions U.S. Law

Why Treasury should require banks to keep records about N. Korean beneficial ownership

In my policy discussions about North Korea, two of the smartest sanctions skeptics I’ve debated are professors John Park and James Walsh. Not only are they both genuinely nice people, their skepticism points to flaws and gaps in the sanctions regime, and that skepticism ultimately serves to improve the quality of the sanctions and their …

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Europe Human Rights Human Trafficking Sanctions

RFA: Poland to stop granting work visas to N. Korean laborers

Last month, I wrote about Vice’s must-see investigative documentary on North Korean workers in Poland and the exploitative and unsafe conditions in which they work for little or no pay. Via Yonhap, Radio Free Asia now quotes South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Cho June-hyuck as saying that Poland will stop granting new work visas and renewing …

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China Europe Human Trafficking

Stop saying N. Korean overseas laborers aren’t slaves. They are, and here’s proof.

You absolutely must watch this extraordinary work of investigative journalism by Vice, exposing the North Korean slave labor racket in Poland. There are English subtitles available. What is so exceptional about this reporting is that its detailed and careful investigation makes it immediately actionable. With a little googling, it’s possible to identify the names, position titles, and …

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"United" Nations Europe Sanctions

European Union publishes new N. Korea sanctions regulation to implement UNSCR 2270

I’ve previously written about the importance of Europe’s role in enforcing U.N. sanctions against North Korea. On March 5th, the EU designated 16 people and 12 entities under its existing North Korea sanctions program. Yesterday, it finally announced the publication of a new “restrictive measures” regulation to implement UNSCR 2270. Based on the summary, the new regulation …

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Europe Luxury Goods

Before Josef Schwartz spends an eternity in Hell, would Austria please send him back to prison?

Reading through the new Panel of Experts report, I saw a finding, at Paragraph 108, relating to two 2011 “[s]hipments of spare parts and equipment for submarines and military boats brokered by Green Pine” — a North Korean trading company designated by the U.N. over proliferation concerns — “from Austria to Angola and Viet Nam.” …

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Europe Sanctions

Europe can play an important role in enforcing U.N. sanctions against N. Korea

With the enactment of UNSCR 2270, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the EU will soon move forward with what EU regulators refer to as “restrictive measures” against North Korea. “There is scope for the European Union to adopt additional autonomous restrictive measures to complement and reinforce the new U.N. measures,” said a …

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Censorship Europe

Sale of cell phone detectors to N. Korea adds to Germany’s debt to history

If there is any justice in our universe, there is a special septic tank in hell reserved for the people who profit by selling these things to Pyongyang: According to local sources, North Korean authorities have recently begun carrying small, German manufactured radar detectors when patrolling near the Chinese border for the purpose of monitoring …

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Europe Luxury Goods

Switzerland sells luxury watches to Kim Jong-Un, despite U.N. sanctions and food shortages

Throughout North Korea’s Great Famine, as millions of North Koreans either starved to death or watched their loved ones die, suppliers across Europe willingly sold Kim Jong-Il millions of dollars’ worth of luxury cars, yachts, cognac, and Swiss watches. In 2006, the U.N. Security Council recognized the obscenity of this practice by adopting Resolution 1718, …

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Europe Sanctions Shipping sanctions

EU blocking of Korea National Insurance Corp. hints at key shift in N. Korea sanctions enforcement

The European Union’s administrative body, the European Commission or EC, has added seven additional designations to its regulation on “restrictive measures” against North Korea. The new designees include the Korea National Insurance Corporation, or KNIC, and six of its officials. There are several good reasons why the EC could have designated KNIC, but didn’t (the reason …

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Europe Human Rights The Camps WMD

N. Korean biowar researcher defects, will testify about human experimentation

[Update, 4 Aug 2015: I inquired with well-connected friends in Europe about when this testimony was likely to take place. Those friends instead questioned the accuracy of Yonhap’s report. Last week, I wrote to a Yonhap correspondent, and asked whether Yonhap stands by the story. Although the correspondent passed my question along to the author …

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Censorship Europe

Then they came for the Germans: N. Korea’s global censorship campaign

Having seen “The Interview,” I’d rate it as good an artistic fit for the Berlin Film Festival as Klaus Nomi might have been for the half-time entertainment at a tractor pull. North Korean diplomats, however, aren’t widely esteemed for certain qualities — like, diplomacy, or diplomacy, academic rigor, or cultural sophistication. Consequently, when they heard that …

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Europe

I wish all borders could be like this

I have a tendency to get lost in Wikipedia, bouncing from page to page chasing curiosities. Last night, I learned this about Liechtenstein: During the 1980s the Swiss army fired off shells during an exercise and mistakenly burned a patch of forest inside Liechtenstein. The incident was said to be resolved “over a case of white wine”. In …

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