News / Asia

US Targeting Secret Funds of North Korea's Kim

VOA News
A senior U.S. official says Washington is trying to block North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from accessing secret funds deposited in overseas bank accounts as it pressures him to stop developing nuclear weapons.

In an interview with VOA's Korean Service, the U.S. Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, said his department is looking for "very large amounts" of Kim's money.

"I can say that we are very actively looking for where that money may be.  If we identify where it is, we will do everything we can to deprive the Kim family's access to those funds," said Cohen.

After Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, some foreign media reports said the late Kim may have deposited at least $4 billion in European banks, including those of Switzerland.

Cohen said U.S. authorities are targeting the money as part of efforts to restrict North Korea's ability to finance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which world powers see as a threat to regional security.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Pyongyang for carrying out nuclear and missile tests in recent months in violation of U.N. resolutions.

Washington also is trying to thwart a years-old North Korean program of counterfeiting US$100 dollar bills to fund those illicit activities, said Cohen.

"We believe North Korea is continuing to try to pass a supernote into the international financial system. It is less of an issue that it was a few years ago," he said. "It seems to have calmed down to some extent, but it is something that continues and it is something we are very focused on."

Cohen said the United States will introduce a new $100 bill with sophisticated security features later this year to make it harder for North Korea and others to counterfeit.

The Treasury official also expressed concern about another source of North Korea's foreign currency - an industrial zone that it jointly operates with South Korea on the northern side of the inter-Korean border.

"Precisely what North Koreans do with earnings from Kaesong, I think, is something that we are concerned about," said Cohen. "All of the hard currency earnings of North Korea are something I would say that we should be concerned about. There are a number of thousands of workers at Kaesong who get paid for their services, so I think it is a complicated situation."

Kaesong is a near-decade old industrial complex where South Korean manufacturers have hired cheap North Korean labor. Pyongyang withdrew its more than 50,000 workers from the industrial zone last week. forcing a rare shutdown in production at one of the only symbols of inter-Korean cooperation.

North Korea's move was in protest at joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises that it sees as a prelude to an invasion of the North. Washington and Seoul insist the drills are defensive. Pyongyang also has condemned the two allies for supporting the latest sanctions imposed on the North by the U.N. Security Council in March.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Tun Aung from: Maarssen, The Netherlands
April 16, 2013 3:19 AM
Hunderd thousands of North- Koreans who are living in Japan and in the world send their money back to North-Korean via illegal money remittance groups. It is the way for Kim's North Korea to earn a lot of millions of foreign hard currencies.


by: pepe
April 15, 2013 9:15 PM
Most international accounts are held by Americans/Jews.


by: Emma Eelc
April 15, 2013 3:59 PM
I don't think they will fire those rockets today, they are not so crazy. At least I hope so.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid