(Adds details on arms exports to Iran, quote from official)
WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on North Korea’s Bank of East Land over transactions with a blacklisted North Korean arms maker that it said has exported torpedoes to Iran.
The Treasury said the action was taken under an August 2010 White House executive order that aims to thwart North Korea’s arms trade, luxury goods imports, narcotics trafficking and money laundering.
The move seeks to freeze any Bank of East Land assets that may be under U.S. jurisdiction and bans U.S. entities from transactions with the institution, also known as Dongbang Bank.
The Treasury has fought a long-running sanctions battle against illicit activities of the North Korean government, including its alleged manufacturing of high-quality counterfeit $100 bills known as “supernotes.”
“Bank of East Land is a major conduit for facilitating North Korea’s conventional arms trade,” David Cohen, the Treasury’s acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
“Today’s designation exposes North Korea’s efforts to circumvent sanctions to conduct illegal activities and degrades its ability to abuse the international financial system,” Cohen said.
The Treasury said Bank of East Land has facilitated transactions for Green Pine Associated Corp, a North Korean arms manufacturer and exporter that was previously placed on the U.S. sanctions list. It said Green Pine produces submarines, military boats and missile systems and has exported torpedoes and technical assistance to Iranian defense-related firms.
In 2007 and 2008, the bank also facilitated transactions involving Green Pine and two blacklisted Iranian financial institutions, Bank Melli and Bank Sepah, the Treasury said. The Iranian state banks previously were sanctioned under an executive order aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear and missile development efforts.
In 2005, the Treasury blacklisted a small bank in Macau, Banco Delta Asia, which cut off Pyongyang’s primary conduit to the international financial system at that time. The move was separate from sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear program but added pressure on the reclusive communist regime to bring it back to multilateral nuclear talks. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Bill Trott)