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U.S. traces funds of N. Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Posted July. 31, 2013 03:59,   


The U.S. is interested in finding funds of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un family, said David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury Department.

In a meeting with reporters Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy to Korea in central Seoul, he said the key purpose of making financial sanctions against North Korea is to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons and missiles and to make it shift away from provocative policy. The U.S. official has actually admitted he is tracking Kim Jong Un`s money. In charge of financial sanctions against North Korea, Cohen is dubbed an "angel of death."

Cohen added whether actions (sanctions) will be made and of what kind will be decided after illegal funds of Kim`s family are discovered. When Kim`s father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, died in December 2011, some foreign media reported that the late Kim may have deposited at least 4 U.S. billion dollars in European banks, including those of Switzerland.

On Panama authorities` seized North Korean vessel that was carrying weapons, Cohen said it was proof that the international society`s determination on North Korea sanctions are properly being promoted. He added that North Korea-made weapons are poor in quality and thus fewer countries are interested in them, and that financing is also difficult. He noted that North Korea`s hiding of weapons on a sugar pack shows how desperate North Korea is.

He said he`s not discouraged by North Korea`s continuous illegal financial trading despite continued sanctions against the country. He noted that the North is actually having difficulty in financial transactions without a paper company, and consequently is facing considerable restrictions in buying materials and information necessary for nuclear and missile development.

On China`s joining of sanctions against the North`s Chosun Trade Bank, Cohen said Beijing made the decision based on perception that North Korean banks` activities within China would pose risks to China, rather than it is cooperating to the U.S.

Cohen, however, said that such sanctions against North Korea haven`t changed the North`s fundamental calculus related to its nuclear activities. His visit to South Korea was made in four months since he last visited Seoul in March. He will visit Singapore and Malaysia before returning to the U.S.