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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 09:25 GMT
Macau bank drops N Korean clients
North Korean soldiers parade in Pyongyang
The US has accused North Korea of counterfeiting and other crimes
A Macau bank accused by the US of laundering money for North Korea has agreed to dissolve all links with the communist state.

The US Treasury said Banco Delta Asia had acted as a "willing pawn" for North Korea to channel money through Macau.

Macau's authorities took control of the bank last year after the fraud claims led to a run on its deposits.

Officials said the bank would end ties with North Korean clients and tighten its anti-money laundering procedures.

US pressure

The US and North Korea are in dispute over the latter's nuclear programme, while the US has regularly accused North Korea of state-sponsored fraud including counterfeiting US dollars.

Many in Washington believe Macau, a former Portuguese territory off the south-east coast of China, has been used as a channel for North Korean smuggling.

Banco Delta Asia has terminated its business with North Korean entities and is implementing new, enhanced money-laundering policies and procedures
Banco Delta Asia

The US Treasury accused Banco Delta of helping to finance North Korean agencies and front companies over a period of 20 years.

It put intense pressure on the bank - which denied the accusations - to abandon ties with North Korea.

It threatened to restrict Banco Delta's business dealings with US banks unless it took prompt action.

Client vetting

Banco Delta said on Thursday it would co-operate fully with the authorities and had appointed two firms of independent accountants to monitor its clients.

"Banco Delta Asia has terminated its business with North Korean entities and is implementing new, enhanced money-laundering policies and procedures," the bank said in a statement.

The scandal weakened Banco Delta's financial position, with customers withdrawing 10% of its total deposits after the allegations surfaced.

The Macau authorities stepped in to support the bank, pending an inquiry into its activities, and are now considering the bank's future.




SEE ALSO:
Laundering charge hits Macau bank
19 Sep 05 |  Business
US forgery team briefs S Korea
23 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
US says N Korea forged dollars
13 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Macau's gambling shake-up
04 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific


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