United States imposes sanctions on N.Korean IT firms

Treasury targets North Korean-run IT companies with sanctions

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The Treasury Department on Thursday imposed financial penalties on two information technology companies and one Chinese national with ties to North Korea for allegedly violating US sanctions.

The department designated the China-based China Silver Star, its North Korean CEO Jong Song Hwa and its Russia-based sister company Volasys Silver Star as such fronts, the Voice of America News reported.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Moscow trying to cover up breaches of UN sanctions on North Korea after it pushed for changes to an independent report on sanctions violations. This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

The dispute between Russian Federation and the U.S as well as Western and other Security Council members has delayed the official release of the six-month report by the expert panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea.

The report said Pyongyang had not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and that it was violating United Nations sanctions on exports. "Period", Haley said in a statement.

U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, blasted the panel for not doing enough to monitor sanctions imposed by Donald Trump, and "for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should have been an independent report".

Russian Federation has said the United States had acted without evidence on the basis of groundless accusations.

The Treasury also said the China-based company was linked to the North Korean government's defense research and ballistic missile programs.

"The full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states - including Russian Federation".

Haley has called for the original report to be released by the 15-member Security Council, which must agree by consensus on whether to publish the findings.

"This is a risky precedent and a stain on the important work of the panel", Haley said.

Russia's United Nations mission and the head of the sanctions monitor panel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the sanctions were meant to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas IT workers hiding behind front companies and aliases.

The Security Council has remained united in imposing tougher and tougher sanctions on North Korea, but the differences over the experts' report mark a first dent in that unity.

September 6, the US Treasury imposed sanctions against North Korean companies and citizens of the DPRK for conducting cyber attacks.

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