On March 30, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Slovakian national Ashot Mkrtychev pursuant to Executive Order 13551 for attempting to facilitate arms deals between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK”). This is the first designation issued under the DPRK sanctions program in response to an attempt by Russia to secure weapons from the DPRK.
According to OFAC, between the end of 2022 and early 2023, Mkrtychev facilitated negotiations between DPRK and Russian officials to obtain more than two dozen kinds of weapons and munitions from the DPRK in exchange for raw materials, commercial aircraft, and commodities; Russia was prepared to complete the proposed deal — to receive materials from, and transfer material to, the DPRK, and to pursue mutually beneficial financial and barter arrangements.
As a result of this designation, all property and interests in property of the designee within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated person. Entities owned 50 percent or more by a designated person are also blocked. In addition, any foreign financial institution that engages in certain transactions with this designee risks exposure to secondary sanctions. OFAC can also prohibit or restrict the opening or maintenance of US correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts by foreign institutions that knowingly facilitate any significant transactions on the designee’s behalf.