Four North Korean banks still remain on the global financial messaging network SWIFT despite U.S. sanctions on the institutions for their links to Pyongyang's weapons programs, a news report said Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal cited unidentified people familiar with the network saying that the North's Foreign Trade Bank, Kumgang Bank, Koryo Credit Development Bank, and North East Asia Bank still remain on SWIFT.
That represents a snafu in the U.S.-led international campaign to cut the communist regime off from the international financial system in order to isolate the regime and curb its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
The U.S. imposed sanctions on the Foreign Trade Bank in 2013, accusing it of facilitating weapons of mass destruction programs. The other three banks were blacklisted in December for supporting the North's weapons programs.
Specialized financial messaging services are essential for international financial transactions. Without such services, wire transfers and other global transactions are impossible. The most representative of such services is SWIFT or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.
The loophole was possible because SWIFT is required by law to comply with U.N. sanctions, but doesn't have to abide by U.S. law if its activities do not fall under U.S. jurisdiction, the report said. (Yonhap)