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U.S. cracks down on N. Korea’s overseas IT firms

Posted September. 15, 2018 08:12,   

Updated September. 15, 2018 08:12


The United States has been imposing the punishment of its own independent sanctions against North Korea’s overseas information technology firms that are a new cash cow for Pyongyang.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said on Thursday (local time) it newly designated for its independent sanctions China-based Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Co., Ltd. (or “China Silver Star), its North Korean CEO Jong Song Hwa (48), and Russia-based Volasys Silver Star. As a result of the sanctions, the two companies’ assets in the United States have been blocked, and U.S. nationals have been banned from doing business with them.

The Treasury Department added to its sanctions list those IT companies that are a cash cow for Pyongyang just a week after the Justice Department indicted on September 6 North Korean hacker Park Jin Hyok, who is the suspect of Sony Pictures hacking. China Silver Star is connected with the North Korean Workers’ Party’s Munitions Industry Department (MID), which supports Pyongyang’s development of ballistic missiles, and Korea Kuryonggang Trading Corporation (Kuryonggang), which supports its development of weapons.

“These actions are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on the sanctions.

Yong Park parky@donga.com