A panel monitoring U.N. sanctions says North Korean cyber experts have illegally raised money for the country’s weapons of mass destruction programs “With total proceeds to date estimated at up to $2 billion.”
The experts said in a new report to the Security Council that North Korea is using cyberspace “To launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income” in violation of sanctions.
North Korea also continues to have access to the global financial system, “Through bank representatives and networks operating worldwide” as a result of “Deficiencies” by U.N. member states in implementing financial sanctions and Pyongyang’s “Deceptive practices,” the experts said.
North Korea has also continued to violate sanctions using illicit ship-to-ship transfers of coal and refined petroleum products, the panel said.
North Korea also continued to violate sanctions by procuring items for the production of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, the panel said.
The experts said representatives from three North Korean entities under U.N. sanctions – KOMID, Saeng Pil and Namchongang – continued to operates overseas, including under diplomatic cover, “Attempting to transfer conventional weapons and expertise and to procure equipment and technology for the country’s WMD programs.”
The experts said they received a report from the United States and 25 other countries with imagery and data accusing North Korea of violating U.N. sanctions by importing far more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products in the first four months of 2019.