Saturday, December 24, 2005

North Korean Counterfeiting U.S. Currency

U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander Vershbow says there is evidence that a North Korean Government agency is involved in counterfeiting U.S. currency. He made the claim in an interview.
"I even know some cases where North Korean government officials were caught attempting to deposit forged dollars," the ambassador said. "In charging North Korea, I have taken into account material, circumstantial and eyewitness evidence, and the evidence I got this time is very reliable." Asked about the prospects for six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, Vershbow said they were not bright but there was still a chance. Pyongyang denies the counterfeiting charge and has threatened to boycott the talks if the U.S. does not lift sanctions against North Korean firms. The envoy said his intention in calling Pyongyang a "criminal regime" earlier this month “was to call attention to illegal activities including counterfeiting that North Korea has engaged in for more than a decade.” He said there was plenty of evidence that the North has been involved in money laundering and drug trafficking.