US Targets Chinese, Russian Companies Over Illegal Shipments to North Korea

August 15, 2018 Updated: August 16, 2018

The United States on Aug. 15 announced new sanctions on Chinese and Russian firms for facilitating illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea, adding to the already existing U.N. and U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. Treasury Department said they imposed the designations against one individual and three companies—China-based Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co., Ltd.; its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte. Ltd.; Russia-based Profinet Pte Ltd.; and its director general.

The result of such sanctions is that any property or interests in property of the persons involved must be blocked, and the United States is generally prohibited from dealing with any of the persons.

“These companies worked together to facilitate illicit shipments to North Korea using falsified shipping documents, including exports of alcohol, tobacco, and cigarette-related products,” the department stated, in reference to the Chinese and Singapore companies.

The illicit cigarette trade in North Korea reportedly nets over $1 billion for the regime each year.

Profinet and its director general, Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, were sanctioned for providing port services on “at least six occasions” to North Korean-flagged ships, including sanctioned vessels carrying thousands of tons of refined oil products.

Kolchanov himself was personally involved in the deals with North Korea and interacted with their representatives.

“The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore, and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under U.S. law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mnuchin said the designations will remain in place until the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea has taken place.

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