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U.S. targets Russian firm for allegedly helping North Korea evade sanctions

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has sanctioned a Russian financial institution for allegedly helping North Korea evade financial sanctions by assisting a company linked to Pyongyang’s primary foreign exchange bank, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

U.S. officials targeted Russian Financial Society and accused it of opening multiple bank accounts for Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co. Ltd, which is owned and controlled by North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank (FTB).

FTB and its chief representative in Moscow Han Jang Su were previously sanctioned, according to the Treasury Department.

The Trump administration is continuing its campaign to pressure North Korea amid efforts to reach a denuclearization deal, including the imposition of financial sanctions.

Wednesday’s action blocks any U.S. assets Dandong Zhongsheng and prohibits any U.S.-based dealings with the company.

“Treasury continues to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against individuals and entities in Russia and elsewhere who facilitate illicit trade with North Korea,” said Sigal Mandelker, U.S. Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Russian Financial Society gave bank accounts to Dandong Zhongsheng and to a representative of Korea Zinc Industrial Group, which was also previously designated under the U.S. sanctions programme, the department said in a statement.

(Reporting by Makini Brice, Tim AHmann and Susan Heavey; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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