US indicts Chinese nationals for dealings with North Korean companies in producing weapons of mass destruction

File Photo Photograph:( DNA )

AFP Washington Jul 23, 2019, 11.11 PM (IST)

Four Chinese nationals have been indicted for financial dealings with North Korean companies sanctioned for involvement in the production of weapons of mass destruction(WMD), the US Justice Department said Tuesday.

Ma Xiaohong, the head of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd, and three top executives of the Chinese company were indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey, the department said in a statement.

"Through the use of more than 20 front companies, the defendants are alleged to have sought to obscure illicit financial dealings on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities that were involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," assistant attorney general John Demers said.

"Ma, her company, and her employees tried to defraud the United States by evading sanctions restrictions and doing business with proliferators of weapons of mass destruction," said US Attorney Craig Carpenito.

According to the indictment, DHID worked with North Korea-based Korea Kwangson Banking Corp. (KKBC), which has ties to two other sanctioned North Korean entities - Tanchon Commercial Bank (Tanchon) and Korea Hyoksin Trading Corporation (Hyoksin).

Tanchon and Hyoksin are subject to US sanctions because of their links with the Korea Mining Development Trading Co. (KOMID), which the United States considers North Korea's premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.

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Ma Xiaohong, the head of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd, and three top executives of the Chinese company were indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey.