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US flags ‘heightened’ Russia, North Korea financing risk

US flags 'heightened' Russia, North Korea financing risk
Source: Video Screenshot

The United States said it faces “heightened risk” from Russia in a report on financing released Wednesday, noting that Moscow has boosted efforts to obtain certain US products to support its war in Ukraine.

“Russia has expanded efforts to illegally acquire US-origin goods with military applications using a variety of obfuscation techniques,” said the Treasury Department in a statement.

It added that these include the use of front companies and global transshipment points, noting that Russia presents a greater risk now compared to a 2022 assessment.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and fighting is ongoing. The United States has introduced sanctions aimed at disrupting Moscow’s military procurement networks in recent times.

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department added that besides Russia,  also poses a risk, with networks linked to the country increasingly exploiting the digital economy.

This includes “through hacking of virtual asset service providers and the overseas deployment of fraudulent information technology workers,” the department said.

“Whether it’s terrorism, drug trafficking, Russian aggression, or corruption, illicit finance is the common thread across our nation’s biggest national security threats,” said the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, in a statement.

The United States’ risk assessment reports cover money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing, which can include providing funds used for making or acquiring weapons.

Besides Russia, the 2024 report on terrorist financing also “discusses Hamas and the ways they exploit the international financial system,” Treasury said.

This comes after Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas and launched strikes and a ground offensive that have killed at least 27,708 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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