US accuses Chinese company of money laundering for North Korea

north-koreaWASHINGTON: The United States has accused a Chinese-based company of acting as a front for laundering money on behalf of a sanctioned North Korean bank and has filed a complaint seeking US$1.9 million from it, US prosecutors said on Thursday.

Mingzheng International Trading Limited has facilitated prohibited dollar transactions through the United States on behalf of the Foreign Trade Bank, a North Korean bank, and laundered the proceeds, the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia said in a statement.

The US$1.9 million forfeiture action “represents one of the largest seizures of North Korean funds by the Department of Justice,” it said.

The sum was transacted in 2015 by Mingzheng, based in the Chinese city of Shenyang, via wire transfers, using their Chinese bank accounts, the statement said.

Mingzheng could not be immediately reached for comment

In March 2013, the US Treasury Department placed the Foreign Trade Bank under sanctions linked to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It described the bank as a state-owned entity that “acts as North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank,” the US prosecutors’ statement said.