The parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly after being released from North Korean detention, will be able to obtain the details of North Korea’s 23.79 million dollars deposited across three U.S. banks. It is unclear if further information on the deposit holder will be revealed.
The U.S. District Court for Washington granted “protective orders” to the three banks that hold North Korean assets on Monday, reported Voice of America (VOA). The order protects the banks from possible legal charges of disclosing the details about the assets to the Warmbiers.
The motion says JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of New York Mellon hold North Korean assets of 17.57 million dollars, 3.01 million dollars and 3.21 million dollars, respectively. The Warmbiers are expected to be informed of the name, address and account number of the asset holders as well as the information on the reason for depositing the assets.
The money is part of North Korea’s frozen assets that remained in the banks as the international sanctions against Pyongyang tightened. According to the annual report of blocked property issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, North Korean frozen assets in the United States amounted to 74.36 million dollars as of 2018.
Otto Warmbier was arrested for allegedly “stealing a propaganda poster” on his trip to North Korea in January 2016 before being released to the United States and died in a coma in June 2017. In April 2018, his parents filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Washington against North Korea for torturing and killing their son, and the court ruled in December the same year that they were entitled to a 501.13-million-dollar payment from North Korea's regime. The Warmbiers have acquired the ownership of the Wise Honest, a North Korean vessel, which was seized and sold by the U.S. government last year.