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US Gets Judgment of Forfeiture of North Korea Ship Inner City Press Asked Berman Of

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter  Denial

UN GATE / SDNY, May 9 – Today a North Korean ship was seized by the United States, with only a fleeing reference to the United Nations, whose DPRK Sanctions Committee has been an untransparent backwater, see below. On a U.S. Department of Justice press call at 1 p.m., Inner City Press asked Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, if he or the Department expects North Korea or its allies including China to context the seizure in the UN and its Security Council's DPRK Sanctions 1718 Commitee (and if the UN had helped, or hurt). Berman said "no comment" (he previously answered Inner City Press' question about Rochester Drug Co-op, here). The seized ship is on the way to American Samoa from Indonesia and as to the SDNY, North Korea has 60 days to try to contest it. After that it will be sold or put to U.S. government use.... From May 9, prior to any DOJ press call: ", John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and John Brown, Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint against M/V Wise Honest (the “Wise Honest”), a 17,061-ton, single-hull bulk carrier ship registered in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”).  The Wise Honest, one of North Korea’s largest bulk carriers, was used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery to the DPRK.  Payments for maintenance, equipment, and improvements of the Wise Honest were made in U.S. dollars through unwitting U.S. banks.  This conduct violates longstanding U.S. law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.                  U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Today’s civil action is the first-ever seizure of a North Korean cargo vessel for violating international sanctions.  Our Office uncovered North Korea’s scheme to export tons of high-grade coal to foreign buyers by concealing the origin of their ship, the Wise Honest.  This scheme not only allowed North Korea to evade sanctions, but the Wise Honest was also used to import heavy machinery to North Korea, helping expand North Korea’s capabilities and continuing the cycle of sanctions evasion.  With this seizure, we have significantly disrupted that cycle.  We are willing and able to deploy the full array of law enforcement tools to detect, deter, and prosecute North Korea’s deceptive attempts to evade sanctions.”


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