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Thursday, December 7th, 2023

U.S Treasury sanctions Russia-based individuals for part in North Korea WMD scheme

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The United States is part of a collation that sanctioned two individuals and one entity for their involvement in generating revenue for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea, and its unlawful development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles.

The sanctions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are in response to the DPRK’s attempted launch of a reconnaissance satellite into orbit on Aug. 23. It was the second failed attempt to do so in three months.

The action was taken, in coordination with the Republic of Korea and Japan, against Jon Jin Yong, Sergey Mikhaylovich Kozlov, and Intellekt LLC.

“In furtherance of the Administration’s commitment to coordinate our responses to regional challenges, today’s action—along with the actions of our allies and partners—targets the facilitation networks that enable the DPRK’s ballistic missile and WMD programs, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said. “The United States will continue to coordinate closely with the Republic of Korea and Japan in our collective effort to combat the DPRK’s unlawful and destructive activities.”

Russia-based Jon Jin Yong worked with Sergey Mikhaylovich Kozlov to coordinate the use of DPRK construction workers in Russia and served as a director of one of Kozlov’s companies. Kozlov has assisted Jon Jin Yong in the procurement of items commonly used in the ship-building industry.

Treasury officials said Jon Jin Yong led a team of DPRK information technology workers in Russia and worked with Russian nationals to obtain identification documents to validate the DPRK IT team’s accounts on freelance IT work platforms. Some of the identity documents were from family members or Russian employees of Kozlov.

OFAC is designating Jon Jin Yong for being an official of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which was sanctioned on March 15, 2016. Further, OFAC is designating Kozlov for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Jon Jin Yong.

Also, Jon Jin Yong coordinated a Moscow-based construction project between Intellekt LLC and a Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS) cover company. On Aug. 30, 2010, the U.S. Department of State designated SANS for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to the proliferation of WMD or their means of delivery. OFAC is designating Intellekt LLC for being owned or controlled by Kozlov.

This action will further restrict the ability of SANS to utilize its foreign-based agents to procure both financial and material support from DPRK representatives in foreign countries and from companies that provide services to circumvent U.S. and UN sanctions.

As a result of these sanctions, all property and interests in property of the persons named above that are in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.