‘Banks will not be allowed to violate UN sanctions’

(Bernama) – Malaysia is looking into claims that one of its banks has been used to channel payment in an arms sale transaction between North Korea and Myanmar.

The country would also assist the US in its investigations into the matter, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak told reporters after chairing the National Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council meeting here on Thursday.

According to reports from South Korea, North Korea had sought payment through an unnamed Malaysian bank for a suspected shipment of weapons bound for Myanmar, which was being tracked by the US Navy.

On Monday, US envoy Philip Goldberg, who is coordinating financial, arms and other sanctions against North Korea under a recent United Nations (UN) resolution, came to Malaysia for talks.

He had told reporters that his delegation had a very good meeting at Bank Negara with Malaysian officials but did not say whether the suspected violation of the UN sanction by a local bank had been discussed.

The US would share information with other countries on any abuse of the international banking system particularly with regard to the UN sanction against North Korea to make sure that whatever trade and financial activities that took place were legal and did not violate the UN Security Council Resolution, he had said.

"We are looking at the details on it," said Najib, who is also Finance Minister when asked about the allegation.

"We don't want to be accused of doing things against the United Nations’ resolutions or international norms. We don't want Malaysia, including its banking system, to be used for those purposes," he added.

He said Malaysia would not allow the country or its banking system to be used for transactions involving the proliferation of nuclear weapons as it did not support the proliferation of nuclear weapons.