美国指一中国公司为朝鲜洗钱,或罚190万美元

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年6月20日 作者:纽约时报(By JONATHAN SOBLE)

平壤国际机场的一台自动取款机,摄于今年4月。
平壤国际机场的一台自动取款机,摄于今年4月。

东京——随着美国向被孤立的朝鲜施压的举措继续影响其邻居和最大靠山,美国检方周四指控一家中国公司替朝鲜洗钱,并表示他们将寻求190万美元的民事罚款。

检方称,这家名为明正国际贸易有限公司的企业是朝鲜国有的外国贸易银行(Foreign Trade Bank)的幌子公司。自2013年以来,该银行一直是美国为切断与该国核武器计划有关的资金而实行制裁的目标。据检方的一份声明称,如果得到哥伦比亚特区联邦地方法院(United States District Court for the District of Columbia)的批准,这笔罚款将成为“司法部对朝鲜最大规模的没收资金之一”。

检方在声明中称,明正的成立目的就是为了“偷偷通过美国转移朝鲜的资金”。在提交给法庭的一份备案文件中,检方称这笔资金存放在一个美国的银行账户里。

打给明正在香港一个号码的电话无人接听。实行半自治的中国城市香港是明正的注册地。

美国日益把朝鲜在外部世界的资金来源作为目标,以助于抑制其发展核武器的野心。这一举措促使美国官方把重点放在了中国公司身上。中国是朝鲜的保护国,也是它最重要的贸易伙伴。

去年,美国财政部表示将切断美国金融体系与任何和朝鲜进行银行交易的银行或公司的往来。专家表示,此举可能会伤害到中国境内较小的地区性银行,特别是地处中朝边境的那些银行。

中国反对这一做法,称美国是在把自己国内的法律强加在其他国家身上。

检方援引秘密线人的话称,明正的经营者是一个与外贸银行有联系的中国公民。检方没有公布此人的姓名。

明正在香港提交的企业备案文件显示,公司唯一的股东孙伟(音)来自辽宁沈阳附近的本溪。记者未能联系到孙伟请其置评。

检方在法庭上表示,明正和一家名叫丹东鸿祥的中国公司有着密切的财务往来。去年,司法部对该公司的一把手和她的几名同事提出刑事指控,控告他们通过一个类似的、隐蔽的资金转移流程违反了美国的制裁规定。

明正还援引一个秘密线人提供的信息称,明正在一家朝鲜电信公司和中国电信设备制造商中兴之间的付款中发挥了作用。3月,中兴同意认罪并支付11.9亿美元的罚款,作为其违反美国的制裁规定,向朝鲜和伊朗出售电子产品而达成的和解的一部分。

美国司法部称,涉案的190万美元是明正在2015年10月和11月代朝鲜转移的资金金额。

检方说,这些用美元进行的付款是通过美国结算的。他们正在争取法庭准许没收这笔资金。

Cao Li自北京对本文有研究贡献

U.S. Accuses Chinese Company of Money Laundering for North Korea

TOKYO — United States prosecutors accused a Chinese company on Thursday of laundering money for North Korea and said they would seek $1.9 million in civil penalties, as American efforts to put pressure on the isolated country continue to affect Pyongyang’s neighbor and biggest benefactor.

Prosecutors said the company, Mingzheng International Trading Limited, operated as a front company for North Korea’s state-run Foreign Trade Bank, which since 2013 has been the target of American sanctions intended to choke off funds connected to the country’s nuclear weapons program. The penalty, if approved by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, would be “one of the largest seizures of North Korean funds by the department,” according to a statement from prosecutors.

In their statement, prosecutors said Mingzheng was created to “surreptitiously move North Korean money through the United States.” In a filing with the court, prosecutors said the funds were being held in a bank account in the United States.

Calls to a Mingzheng phone number in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city where the company is registered, were not answered.

The United States has increasingly targeted North Korea’s money sources with the outside world to help tame its ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. That effort has led American officials to focus on companies in China, which acts as North Korea’s protector and is its most important trading partner.

Last year, the United States Treasury said it would cut off from the American financial system any bank or company conducting banking transactions with North Korea. Experts said the move could hit smaller regional banks in China, especially those along its border with North Korea.

China has opposed the effort, saying the United States is imposing its own domestic laws on other countries.

Citing confidential informants, prosecutors said Mingzheng was operated by a Chinese citizen with ties to the Foreign Trade Bank. It did not name the citizen.

Mingzheng’s corporate filings in Hong Kong listed its sole shareholder as Sun Wei, a resident of Benxi, an area near the Chinese city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province. Mr. Sun could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors told the court that Mingzheng’s financial transactions were closely linked to another Chinese company called Dandong Hongxiang. Last year, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against its top executive and several of her colleagues, accusing them of violating American sanctions through a similar, covert money-transfer scheme.

Citing a confidential informant, prosecutors also said Mingzheng played a role in payments between a North Korean telecommunications company and ZTE, a Chinese maker of telecommunications equipment. In March, ZTE agreed to plead guilty and pay $1.19 billion in fines as part of a settlement for breaking United States sanctions and selling electronics to North Korea and Iran.

The United States Justice Department said the $1.9 million was the amount that Mingzheng transferred on North Korea’s behalf in October and November 2015.

Those payments, made in dollars, were cleared through the United States, the prosecutors said, who are seeking permission from the court to seize the funds.

Cao Li contributed research from Beijing.