Duchy will examine Pyongyang accounts

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Duchy will examine Pyongyang accounts

The Luxembourg government told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday that it is keeping a close eye on possible illegal financial transactions by North Koreans in the country and will take action against any illegal activities.

The pledge by Luxembourg, together with an earlier promise from Hong Kong, came after the U.S. announced it was tightening sanctions on Pyongyang and urged for international cooperation.

“Luxembourg is closely inspecting illegal activities including money laundering on a regular basis,” a spokesperson for the finance ministry was quoted as saying by RFA. “We will continue to faithfully implement the sanctions on North Korea based on the UN resolutions.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Seoul last Wednesday that the U.S. will soon implement tougher sanctions on the North, combining a stricter enforcement of existing sanctions from UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 with new regulations.

RFA cited another Luxembourg official as saying its government is constantly adjusting its policies to international rules, hinting that the country could strengthen its monitoring of North Korea.

In March, the Daily Telegraph, quoting unnamed South Korean intelligence officials, reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is keeping $4 billion in slush funds in European banks, including in Luxembourg, earned from illegal trading of weapons, drugs and counterfeit bills.

A Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development spokesperson told RFA last Thursday that it will increase its monitoring of North Korean companies based in the city-state, including the Korea Taepung International Investment Group, to see if they are involved in illegal business activities.

Meanwhile, Robert Einhorn, Washington’s front man on the issue of North Korean sanctions, will come to South Korea on Sunday to discuss the tougher sanctions, according to diplomatic sources. Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Daniel Glaser, an expert on secret North Korean bank accounts overseas, will accompany Einhorn, they said.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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