Skip to comments.China: BDA denies wrongdoing on N Korean funds(Chia Head lives, those dealing with him die)
Posted on 03/17/2007 2:39:56 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
BDA denies wrongdoing on N Korean funds
By FT reporters
Fri Mar 16, 1:35 AM ET
Banco Delta Asia, the Macao bank accused by the US of laundering money for North Korea, on Friday denied any wrongdoing over handling Pyongyang's funds and vowed to regain management control from the government.
The US Treasury on Wednesday banned American banks from dealing with BDA, saying it had found evidence that the bank had turned a "blind eye" to illicit activity by North Korea.
"The money is still in the bank", Stanley Au, chairman of BDA, said at a press conference, referring to the $25m in North Korean deposits frozen by the Macao government in September 2005 after the Treasury designated the bank as a "prime money laundering concern". "How to handle the funds is a matter of decision of the Macao government," he said.
North Korea has demanded that the US have the funds released and lifts its sanctions, which have been a major hurdle in international negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament.
Mr Au said the Macao government, which took control of BDA in September 2005, had planned to return management control to the bank two days before the Treasury's latest move. He said he did not know how the ban would affect the handover but that he had no intention to give up control of the bank.
China on Thursday expressed "deep regret" over the Treasury's move, raising questions about progress in the accord to end Pyongyang's nuclear programme.
While Washington said its decision cleared the way for further advances in the disarmament process, officials in China - North Korea's biggest benefactor - were more critical, suggesting there could be divisions when nuclear talks resume on Monday.
"We express deep regret at the US insistence on using US domestic law to apply a ruling to the Banco Delta Asia," Qin Gang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, told a news conference.
He said all steps should assist general progress in the six-party talks that produced the February accord, under which Kim Jong-il's regime agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor by mid-April. "We hope the relevant parties can honour their commitments [to the February agreement]," Mr Qin said.
As part of the accord, Washington agreed to resolve the lengthy investigation into BDA, and the freezing of $25m of North Korean funds.
The Treasury announced on Wednesday it had found evidence of widespread wrongdoing at BDA and ordered US banks to sever ties with it, but left responsibility for releasing the frozen assets to Macao authorities.
The Macao government also expressed "deep regret" at the Treasury department's decision. According to Francis Tam, secretary for economy and finance, an independent audit ordered by the territory's government found no evidence of illegal activity at BDA.
North Korea has not formally responded to the Treasury announcement.
US officials told the Financial Times that North Korea was seeking a signal from the US that, despite the sanctions taken against the Macao bank, other financial institutions would not be discouraged from entering into normal business dealings with Pyongyang.
That assurance has not been made in public, but may be given in private.
Christopher Hill, the US chief nuclear negotiator, said he believed "we have fulfilled what we need to do" and added: "I'm confident that the six-party process is going to go ahead."
Japan has been less than effusive about US action. Yuriko Koike, the prime minister's adviser on security, told the FT on Thursday in a reference to a previous 1994 nuclear freeze accord that Pyongyang reneged on: "We will not allow the same story that we saw in 1994. We will be watching carefully...They are so good at posing and disguising."
Reporting by Andrew Yeh in Beijing, Tom Mitchell in Hong Kong, David Pilling in Tokyo, Anna Fifield in Seoul and Guy Dinmore in Washington
BDA should cry loud to its Chicom masters, if it is not happy with this decision. There is a price to be paid for sheltering Kim Jong-il regime. Perhaps this is a small price to pay as far as Chicom is concerned. Then, tough luck for BDA.
N. Korea nuclear crisis is reduced to N. Korea making a big deal out of $24 million of its dirty money. It became a circus again.
OH BOY China is remind me of the neighbor who can't control his pit bull am I wrong in that assumption
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