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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid