The EU has added 4 people to its DPRK sanctions list for their involvement in “deceptive financial practices which are suspected of contributing to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes”. These listings are EU autonomous measures, which will be published in the Official Journal tomorrow. EU press release here.
In March 2017, we reported that Chinese telecoms company ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd) had agreed to a combined civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of $1.19bn after shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions, making false statements, and obstructing justice including through preventing disclosure to and misleading the US Government. In addition to those monetary penalties, ZTE also agreed a 7-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not complied with.
Yesterday (16 April 2018), the US Department of Commerce announced that it had activated ZTE’s 7-year denial of export privileges order on the basis that the company had made false statements to the Department during settlement negotiations in 2016, and during the probationary period in 2017. Those statements had only been reported to the US Government after the Department had requested certain information from ZTE.
The House of Commons Defence Committee has published a report: Rash or Rational? North Korea and the threat it poses which analyses sanctions adopted in response to North Korea’s nuclear programme.
The report states that North Korea’s nuclear weapons testing began in 2006, and that UN sanctions have been imposed in 9 increasingly severe UNSC resolutions (the latest being in December 2017, see here). Countries “traditionally supportive” of North Korea, such as China and Russia had approved all 9 resolutions, and some imposed additional measures (including the US and the EU). The report concludes that the “inadequate enforcement of sanctions” and “lax enforcement on the part of certain countries”, has “significantly limited their impact on North Korea’s economy”. It recommends that the FCO should “set out what steps it has taken to encourage other countries to enforce – in full – the agreed sanctions against North Korea”.
On 30 March 2018, the UN Security Council added 1 individual (asset freeze and travel ban), 21 entities (majority shipping companies; asset freezes), and 27 vessels (asset freezes on 15 vessels, port entry ban on 25 vessels, and de-flagging of 12 vessels) to its North Korea sanctions list – see previous blog here.
On 30 March 2018, the UN Security Council added 1 individual, Tsang Yung Yuan, and 21 entities (majority shipping companies) to its North Korea sanctions list (asset freezes and travel ban imposed).
The UNSC also sanctioned 27 vessels: 13 of which have been imposed with asset freezes and UN port bans; 2 have been imposed with just asset freezes; and the remaining 12 vessels have been subjected to de-flagging and UN port bans. UN press release here.
The Panel of Experts assigned to the UN Security Council’s DPRK Sanctions Committee has published its Final Report (2018), which offers (inter alia) a series of recommendations for designation.
In respect of North Korea continuing to have “access to the international financial system”, the following individuals and entities have been recommended for designation: Han Hun Il (Edward Han), Ri Ho Nam, Ri Ik (Li Ik), Wang Zhi Guo, Pak In Su, Kim Chang-Hyok and Kim Su-Gwang, as well as ‘International Global System’ and ‘International Golden Services’. The Panel has also reiterated its recommendations in previous reports for the designation of ‘Pan Systems’.
The Report also recommends the ‘Nuclear Weapons Institute’ for designation, on the basis that it is engaged in the nuclear-related programme of the DPRK (it is said to be led by designated person Ri Hong-Sop, and a subordinate company to the designated entity, Munitions Industry Department).
Furthermore, the Panel has recommended that the following 3 individuals should be designated for having violated paragraphs 11 and 14 of UNSC Resolution 2375 (2017) (namely, engaging in the illicit transfer to the DPRK of refined petroleum products by way of ship-to-ship transfers): Shih-Hsien Chen, Boby Julian Akbari (captain of the designated vessel: ‘Billions No. 18’ – see previous blog here) and Wang Songchang (captain of the vessel: ‘Lighthouse Winmore’, which was seized by South Korean authorities earlier this year – see previous blog here).
The EU General Court has given judgment in the first case about the EU’s North Korea DPRK sanctions regime. Judgment here (Maya Lester QC appeared for the applicants).
The Korea National Insurance Company was subject to an EU asset freeze for (in summary) “generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could be used to contribute” to the DPRK’s nuclear / ballistic programme. The Court found, in essence, that as a state-owned insurance company that generated a profit (even if it did not generate substantial foreign exchange revenue) the listing criterion was fulfilled. The Court also rejected claims brought by individuals who had held positions in the company, on the basis that their witness evidence explaining (inter alia) their retirement / absence of ongoing links with the company had no probative value because it was prepared for the purposes of the EU case.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is allegedly investigating a Sydney-based company, Brigt Australia, and its director, Livia Wang, over accusations that they had violated UN sanctions against North Korea by brokering an illicit sale of coal (including, falsely stating that the shipment of coal had come from Russia, when it had originated in North Korea).