On May 27, 2016, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, pursuant to authority contained in the USA PATRIOT ACT, found “reasonable grounds” to conclude that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern. In its notice, FinCEN cited several factors that contributed to this conclusion, including evidence that organized criminal groups, international terrorists or entities involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have transacted business in North Korea, evidence that North Korea has been found to have repeatedly failed to address the deficiencies in its AML regime and the extent to which North Korea has demonstrated high levels of institutional and official corruption.

Concurrent with this finding, FinCEN issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to propose a prohibition on covered financial institutions from opening or maintaining a correspondent account in the United States for or on behalf of a North Korean banking institution and to prohibit the use of foreign banking institutions’ correspondent accounts at covered US financial institutions to process transactions involving North Korean financial institutions.

Written comments on the FinCEN proposed rule must be submitted by August 2, 2016.

The full text of the proposed rule is available at:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-03/pdf/2016-13037.pdf.

The full text of the FinCEN notice is available at:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/06/02/2016-13038/finding-that-the-democratic-peoples-republic-of-korea-is-a-jurisdiction-of-primary-money-laundering%23h-16