U.S. blacklists Turkish firm for trade with North Korea

The United States Treasury announced on Thursday that it has designated a Turkish company and two of its executives for attempting to sell weapons and luxury goods to North Korea.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that SIA Falcon International Group had been added to the United States’ blacklist for “having attempted to have directly or indirectly imported, exported, or reexported any arms or related materiel and luxury goods to, into, or from North Korea.”

SIA Falcon's various subsidiary companies trade in weapons, livestock, energy and food.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer and voting capital owner, Hüseyin Şahin, and General Manager Erhan Culha have also been designated by the United States for their activities acting on behalf of the company.

The pair hosted a North Korean diplomat, Ri Song Un, in Turkey to negotiate the trade deals for arms and luxury goods, according to the Treasury’s statement. The Korean diplomat has also been designated.

“SIA Falcon International Group and individuals acting on its behalf are blatantly attempting to flout longstanding UN sanctions on trade in weapons and luxury goods with North Korea.  The international community must not stand idly by as UN sanctions are being circumvented,” said Mnuchin. 

“The United States is deeply committed to the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and will continue to enforce and implement sanctions until that time,” he added.

Having been designated, the company and both executives are now barred from any business dealings with U.S. citizens and from owning property in the United States.

Despite its diplomatic overtures to North Korea, President Donald Trump’s administration has stuck doggedly to the sanctions regime imposed on the country, which it says has been put in place to further its goal of ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.