Shell companies key to North Korea’s illicit access to the global financial system

North Korea is managing to bypass international sanctions and gain access to the global financial system using shell companies and bogus documents according to confidential bank documents NBC News says it has seen.

The documents indicate that North Korea, alongside other rogue actors, move millions of US dollars across borders in transactions cleared through US banks, including JPMorgan and the Bank of New York Mellon, according to the news channel.

Documentary evidence

The US news channel says it has seen documents showing that North Korea engaged in an elaborate money laundering scheme for years using a string of shell companies and help from Chinese firms.

These entities reportedly channelled money through prominent banks in New York the confidential bank documents showed.

No commercial reason

They also indicated that wire transfers from North Korean-linked firms with opaque ownership sometimes came in bursts and the amounts transferred were in round figures with no clear commercial reasons for the transactions according to NBC News.

Earlier this year blockchain analysis company Chainanalysis revealed that North Korea continues to import and export goods despite extensive sanctions imposed on it by using trade-based money laundering techniques (Trade-based Financial Crime, 26 May 2020).

The NBC News report, Secret documents show how North Korea launders money through U.S. banks, can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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