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US blacklists Turkish firm for trade with North Korea

5 October 2018 11:35

The United States has blacklisted a Turkish company and two executives for allegedly attempting to bypass sanctions prohibiting sales of weapons and luxury goods to North Korea as Washington maintains pressure on Pyongyang to dismantle its missile and nuclear programs.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Thursday that SIA Falcon International Group, which also has a branch in Latvia, and the individuals acting on its behalf “are blatantly attempting to flout longstanding UN sanctions” against Pyongyang.

“The United States is deeply committed to the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and will continue to enforce and implement sanctions until that time,” said the statement.

The Treasury said that earlier this year, SIA Falcon CEO Huseyin Sahin and its general manager Erhan Culha hosted in Turkey a diplomat from North Korea’s embassy in Mongolia to negotiate trade deals involving weapons and luxury goods.

SIA Falcon officials are now barred from doing business with Americans and holding property or having interests in property in the US.

The US Treasury also imposed sanctions on the North Korean diplomat, Ri Song Un, who serves as the economic and commercial counselor at North Korea’s embassy in Mongolia.

According to the SIA Falcon website, the company’s operations span defense, livestock, energy and food products. It described itself as “one of the biggest companies … in the defense industry,” saying it supplied armed services and security forces of more than 30 nations on five continents.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed a barrage of economic restrictions on North Korea, and those who do business with it. The sanctions are still in place despite Pyongyang’s denuclearization efforts which came after a meeting between Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in June.

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