Financial Times Chinese recently reported that the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the world’s core settlement network for inter-bank transactions, announced it will remove the membership of the last four North Korean banks that remained in its network. A recent United Nations report indicated that SWIFT had been allowing the four banks not under UN sanction to use its network. The UN report described how North Korea bypassed the international sanctions with help from organizations like SWIFT. SWIFT, headquartered in Brussels, explained that its latest decision had nothing to do with UN sanctions. It was merely the result of the four banks missing the qualifications required for their SWIFT membership. The Belgium authorities withdrew the permission necessary to maintain the four banks’ membership. However, some experts expressed their belief that this new development will only force North Korea to explore other “creative” ways to get into the international financial system via underground ties. The UN report mentioned that some Chinese global companies and organizations provided most of the financial connections North Korea has been using to its advantage.
Source: FT Chinese, March 17, 2017