North Korean Diplomat Indicted for Sanctions Evasion and Money Laundering in the U.S.

Former North Korean diplomat charged with conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions, bank fraud, and money laundering in scheme to secretly ship goods to North Korea.

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North Korean Diplomat Indicted for Sanctions Evasion and Money Laundering in the U.S.

North Korean Diplomat Indicted for Sanctions Evasion and Money Laundering in the U.S.

A federal indictment unsealed on Monday charges Myong Ho Ri, a former North Korean diplomat who served in Thailand, with conspiracy to violate U.S. economic sanctions, bank fraud, and international money laundering. The charges, announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), allege that Ri engaged in a scheme to evade sanctions and secretly ship goods into North Korea through the U.S. financial system.

According to the indictment, Ri, while serving as a diplomat in Thailand, conspired to surreptitiously transport shipments to North Korea in violation of the strict economic sanctions imposed by the United States. He allegedly negotiated contracts to covertly move goods through U.S. banks without obtaining the required licensing from the Treasury Department, effectively deceiving the banking system designed to detect such illicit activities.

The charges highlight Ri's role in circumventing U.S. banking laws for the benefit of North Korea, a country with ambitions to illegally expand its nuclear capabilities. The Justice Department has pledged to aggressively pursue individuals who violate sanctions and contribute to the enhancement of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Why this matters:This case highlights the U.S. government's ongoing efforts to crack down on sanctions evasion and illicit financial activities involving North Korea. It serves as a reminder of the importance of enforcing economic sanctions to curb the country's nuclear ambitions and maintain global security.

The case is being handled by HSI's Washington D.C. Field Office and prosecutors from the National Security Division's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves emphasized the significance of the indictment, stating, "This case highlights our efforts to crack down on sanctions evasion and illicit financial activities involving North Korea."

Key Takeaways

  • Former North Korean diplomat charged with sanctions evasion, bank fraud, money laundering.
  • Ri conspired to secretly ship goods to North Korea through the U.S. financial system.
  • Charges highlight efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions through sanctions enforcement.
  • Case handled by HSI and DOJ's National Security Division, emphasizing crackdown on sanctions evasion.
  • Indictment underscores U.S. commitment to maintaining global security by enforcing economic sanctions.