US blacklists shipping firms over N.Korea sanctions

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. on Wednesday sanctioned a Chinese company, its Singapore-based subsidiary, a Russian port service agency and its top executive for what the U.S. said are efforts to circumvent North Korea sanctions.

The Treasury Department designated China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Company, Ltd. and SINSMS Pte. Ltd. because they "worked together to facilitate illicit shipments to North Korea."

Russia-based Profinet Pte Ltd. and its director general, Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, were also blacklisted. Profinet runs ports in eastern Russia, and the Treasury Department said it "has provided port services on at least six separate occasions to DPRK-flagged vessels."

It listed two vessels, CHON MYONG 1 and RYE SONG GANG 1, which it said have transported tons of refined oil products that are capped in North Korea under UN sanctions.

Kolchanov, the Treasury Department said, "was personally involved in North Korea-related deals and interacted directly with North Korean representatives in Russia."

U.S. persons and entities are now generally prohibited from doing business with the designated entities and Kolchanov, and any assets they hold within U.S. jurisdiction have been frozen as a result of Wednesday's announcement.

“Treasury will continue to implement existing sanctions on North Korea, and will take action to block and designate companies, ports, and vessels that facilitate illicit shipments and provide revenue streams to the DPRK,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement accompanying the sanctions announcement.

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