North Korean funds transferred to Russian bank

Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed Saturday that North Korean funds that had been frozen by the United States have been transferred to a North Korean account at a private Russian bank. "At the present the transfer of the North Korean money from Macau to a Russian commercial bank has been completed. We hope that now the participants of the six-sided process will be able to switch to practical moves directed at realization of the (February) Beijing agreement," the ministry said in a statement. The United States froze the US$25 million (€18.6 million) at a Macau bank after blacklisting the bank for allegedly aiding North Korea in money laundering and counterfeiting. The money was freed earlier this year with US blessing, but its transfer to the Russian bank began only about a week ago. Restoring access to the funds has been North Korea's key condition for taking steps to fulfill a nuclear disarmament pledge.