Inside the US Crackdown on Companies That Help North Korea

GREAT NECK, N.Y. — The five-bedroom house in New York’s Long Island suburbs — listed for nearly $1.3 million — boasts a southern exposure and proximity to a country club.

But here’s what’s more interesting: The seller, a Chinese national named Sun Sidong, has been linked by American security experts to a network of Chinese companies under Treasury sanctions for helping companies and individuals who support North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

According to Chinese corporate filings, Sun is the listed owner of Dandong Dongyuan Industrial Co., which has shared an email address with another Chinese company, Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co., a coal exporter suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions.

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The coal company and “four related front companies” were targeted by a federal search warrant allowing prosecutors to secretly monitor their financial transactions at eight U.S. banks, seizing any funds stemming from illegal sanctions-busting, according to a May federal court ruling.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell of Washington, D.C., said the eight American financial institutions — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, BNY Mellon, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, and Standard Chartered Bank — had already processed upwards of $700 million in prohibited transactions involving North Korea since 2009. The ruling does not allege any wrongdoing by any of the banks.

Image: The Great Neck, NY home purchased by Sun Sidong in December 2016.

The Great Neck, N.Y., home purchased by Sun Sidong in December 2016.