US blacklists South African for North Korea oil deals

WASHINGTON - The US Treasury placed a Russian-born South African man on its sanctions blacklist for allegedly helping North Korea avoid an international embargo on its energy purchases.

The Treasury said Vladlen Amtchentsev worked with Velmur Management Pte and Transatlantic Partners Pte to buy fuel oil and gasoil to ship to North Korea even though that was forbidden by US sanctions. 

The companies, which are also accused of laundering millions of dollars for Pyongyang, have already been placed on the US sanctions blacklist.

The sanctions forbid Americans or American businesses from doing business with those named. Their property under US jurisdiction is also frozen.

The US has used economic sanctions to step up pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

"North Korea depends upon the help of criminals and illicit actors to raise and transfer funds," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.

"As part of our commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea, Treasury will continue to enforce and implement sanctions against any actor that seeks to aid the regime's deceptive practices."