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U.S.: North Korea Keeps Counterfeiting Dollars

Posted April. 03, 2008 06:25,   


The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday that North Korea has not stopped producing high-quality American counterfeit currency.

Under Treasury Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart A. Levey testified before Congress that the U.S. Secret Service is continuing to investigate Pyongyang’s counterfeiting and the high-quality fake bill, the “supernote,” that continues to surface.

A diplomatic source in Washington, on the condition of anonymity, said that last year, Washington sought to push ahead dialogue with Pyongyang. The United States lifted a ban on North Korean funds in the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, the source said, but at the last moment, internal voices in the department urged a probe on Pyongyang’s counterfeiting.

Levey’s testimony and report have shed light on a problem that had been put under the rug due to the détente drive led by the U.S. State Department.

The report demonstrates how seriously the Treasury Department takes the counterfeit supernotes and nuclear nonproliferation.

The report described actions the department has taken to enforce its nonproliferation policy and deter counterfeiting. The Treasury Department targeted an army of North Korean corporations involved in Pyongyang’s nuclear program and export, and penalized the Macau bank. The measures dealt a blow to the communist country in sharing information on the North’s illegal activities with governments and banks around the world.

The report said the Treasury defined the effects on the private sector as dramatic. Numerous financial institutions severed business ties not only with the suspect entities but also with other clients from North Korea, financially isolating the secluded country from the rest of the world. The department gave credit to its own acts for augmenting the State Department’s diplomatic leverage over Pyongyang.

In October 2006, the Treasury told Congress that North Korea was counterfeiting 50 and 100 dollar bills, and that the Secret Service had collected 50 million dollars worth of the notes since first detecting them in 1989.

The Treasury`s Office of Foreign Assets Control since 2005 has put 51 organizations and 12 individuals on its nonproliferation watch list. North Korea is associated with nine of the entities and one individual.