North Korea’s remaining links to global banking networks via Swift have been severed, according to the Brussels-based international system that supports most of the world’s financial transactions.
Amid rising global concern over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, Swift said on Friday that the North Korean banks that remained on its system were “no longer compliant with Swift’s membership criteria” and would be dropped.
The statement from Swift, which processes billions of dollars in financial transactions daily, came a week after it said it would no longer provide services to three North Korean banks sanctioned by the United Nations.
A recent report from the UN showed that Swift continued to link four unsanctioned North Korean banks to the global financial system. The statement from Swift on Friday indicated that those four remaining banks stood to lose their connection.
The move comes as tensions between North Korea and its neighbours rise and pressure builds on the international community to further cut ties to the Stalinist state.
上周，朝鲜向日本海发射了四枚弹道导弹。而在一个月前，朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong Un)同父异母的兄长金正男(Kim Jong Nam)在马来西亚一个机场被致命的VX神经毒气刺杀。导致朝鲜与马来西亚之间出现了一场外交争端，并使中国也牵涉其中。
North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan last week. A month earlier, Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was assassinated with the deadly nerve agent VX in a Malaysian airport, leading to a diplomatic row between the two countries that has also pulled in China.
The UN has issued a lengthy report on how the country has circumvented financial sanctions and maintained ties to international finance, singling out organisations such as Swift that have helped the state maintain connections to the outside world.
However, experts say that the loss of formal ties to the global financial system has only pushed North Korea to take its cross-border dealings underground.
律商联讯风险解决方案公司(LexisNexis Risk Solutions)全球金融犯罪与合规部副总裁丹?韦杰(Dan Wager)表示：“这么做的结果，是促使朝鲜银行及朝鲜当局采取新的、‘有创意’的方式洗钱，以支持资金增值及购买受制裁商品的活动。”
“What that’s going to do is drive North Korean banks and the North Korean regime to go into new and innovative ways to launder funds, to support their proliferation and purchasing activities for sanctioned commodities and goods,” said Dan Wager, vice-president of global financial crime and compliance at Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions.
“As these reports [of Swift’s recent actions] become public, North Korea has likely already looked for new ways to settle those transactions and move those goods.”
The 326-page UN report pointed to companies and organisations across the globe — but mainly in China — that have continued to provide crucial financial links to the increasingly isolated nation.
It was unclear why Swift decided to severe its relationships with unsanctioned North Korean banks. In a statement last week it said that it has “no authority to make sanctions decisions. Any decision to lift or impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and legislators.”
Its decision to cut off the sanctioned banks was because regulators in Belgium had withdrawn permission for it to continue the relationship, it said — not due to the UN sanctions.