Russia to transfer North Korea funds via US bank

By Xinhua

Seoul : Russia has accepted a US request to help facilitate the transfer of $25 million of North Korea's funds to push forward the six-party talks on halting Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

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The US is expected to temporarily bend its rules banning banks from dealing with the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia bank to carry out international money transactions, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Sunday, quoting unnamed government sources.

The name of the US bank that will play the intermediary role will not be disclosed to help smoothen the process, the source said, adding it would not be Wachovia Corp., the fourth largest American bank that once considered helping with the fund transactions.

With the new idea – which the US and Russia agree on – being pushed in a positive atmosphere, the chances for the transfer of the North Korea funds are getting higher, the source said.

Under an agreement reached on Feb 13 during the latest six-party talks, Washington agreed to unfreeze the money at the Banco Delta Asia bank while Pyongyang agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities in return for aid.

However, the transfer was not conducted due to difficulties in finding financial institutions willing to do so.