In response to the November 21 launch of a military reconnaissance satellite claimed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated nine persons: eight individual agents of the DPRK were designated for their involvement in generating revenue and procuring weapons for the development of weapons of mass destruction, and an entity called Kimsuky, a cyber espionage group, for the group’s efforts to gather intelligence to support the DPRK’s strategic objectives.
All eight of the newly-designated individuals are associated with previously sanctioned weapons exporters, financial institutions and front companies owned or controlled by the DPRK. Three of these (Kang Kyong Il and Ri Sung Il, based in Teheran, and Kang Phyong Guk, based in Beijing), work for Green Pine Associated Corporation, which is controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a DPRK intelligence agency involved in cyber warfare. Kang Kyong Il, Ri Sung Il , and Kang Phyong Guk, were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13551.
So Myong and Choe Un Hyok, based in Russia, were designated pursuant to Executive Orders 13382 and 13722, respectively, for acting on behalf of the Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Korea United Development Bank. Jang Myong Chol, based in China, was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13810 for acting on behalf of Koryo Commercial Bank LTD.
The sixth and seventh individuals sanctioned by OFAC are Choe Song Chol and Im Song Sun, designated pursuant to Executive Order 13810 for being North Korean persons engaged in commercial activity that generates revenue for the government of the DPRK or the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Kimsuky, also known as Archipelago, Black Banshee, Emerald Sleet, Nickel Kimball, Thallium and Velvet Chollima, was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13687 for being an agency, instrumentality, or a controlled entity of the government of the DPRK.
The action of the United States in imposing sanctions on these individuals and entity was coordinated with Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, who, in the words of Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, “reflect our collective commitment to contesting Pyongyang’s illicit and destabilizing activities.”
As a result of these sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons 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 a designated person. In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.