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North to shutter bank in Vienna

May 06,2004
Golden Star Bank in Vienna ― North Korea’s only bank operating in Europe ― will return its license to the Austrian government at the end of next month and liquidate its holdings, South Korea’s state-run trade agency reported on Tuesday.
According to the Viennese branch of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Golden Star Bank suspended transactions in late February. The North Korean bank went through an investigation by Bankenaufsichtsbehoerde ― Austria’s banking regulator ― in June, 2003 regarding alleged violations of the nation’s banking laws.
Quoting Austrian officials, the South Korean trade agency said the investigation turned up no reasons to lift the bank’s license, but Golden Star Bank had voluntarily decided to return the permit.
Golden Star appeared to have decided to go out of business because its transactions with Austrian banks had all but ended late last year, the South Korean trade agency said.
The bank is holding about 15 million euros ($18 million) in its accounts. It was founded in 1982 as a subsidiary of Korea Daesong Bank in Pyeongyang.


by Moon So-young


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