UN Experts Cite Findings from The Sentry on North Korean Activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo
March 31, 2021 (Washington, DC) – The 2021 final report of the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea to the UN Security Council includes and expands on The Sentry’s investigative findings on activities by North Koreans in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that are prohibited by international sanctions, including holding US dollar bank accounts and obtaining government contracts. In response, the UN Panel of Experts recommends Pak Hwa Song and Hwang Kil Su for designation by the Committee.
The Sentry, an investigative and policy team co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, commends the recommended actions against those who evaded sanctions and further urges more action to address the systemic challenges that allowed this activity to occur. Experts at The Sentry are available for comment.
John Dell’Osso, Senior Investigator at The Sentry, said: “The UN expert report on North Korean sanctions makes it clear that financial dealings in Central Africa are not peripheral matters in international peace and security. Our investigation, which the UN cited, showed how a probable front company for the North Korean government obtained access to lucrative contracts and banking services in the DRC without any apparent resistance. This reveals significant holes in the enforcement of certain sanctions programs and also underscores why it’s so important for international actors to provide assistance to those on the frontlines of sanctions enforcement in places like the DRC.”
Megha Swamy, Deputy Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, said: “Entrenched corruption at the highest levels in the DRC has led to a lax compliance culture in many parts of the banking sector. The latest UN expert report is yet another wake up call for the country’s financial sector stakeholders, including authorities who have failed to enforce sanctions and adequate anti-money laundering laws. While the Congolese government and local banks have taken some steps to tackle the issue of illicit finance, they need to be much more vigorous in their efforts to weed out bad actors.”
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About The Sentry
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.