Malaysia calls for evidence on NKorea banking charges
Mon, Jul 06, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Monday called on the United States to produce evidence on media allegations that a Malaysian bank is channelling weapons payments to North Korea.

Reports from South Korea have said that North Korea sought payment through an unnamed Malaysian bank for a suspected shipment of weapons bound for Myanmar, which was being tracked by the US Navy.

Philip Goldberg, the US State Department's envoy on coordinating implementation of sanctions against North Korea over its May nuclear test, is in Kuala Lumpur for talks with banking and government officials.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said the government "does not condone" money laundering and was willing to cooperate to prevent illegal payments.

"If America has any information that is available to them, then I think they should give it to us so we can act upon it," he told a news conference when asked about the allegations on North Korean payments.

"We are not going to act on every accusation that is being levelled at us because that is virtually impossible. If they have evidence we will be most willing to work together to solve the problem."

Goldberg, who met with Malaysian central bank officials earlier Monday, was due to hold a press conference later.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on the weekend that his visit will focus on ways to block payment for the suspected weapons cargo on board the North Korean freighter.

Quoting unidentified sources, it said that North Korea had received an initial payment for the shipment but that the majority owed was still with the Malaysian bank.

The Kang Nam 1 freighter, which left North Korea on June 17, was expected to return home later Monday after aborting its voyage, South Korea's defence ministry said.

It was the first North Korean ship to be tracked under new UN sanctions imposed on the hardline communist country on June 12 following the nuclear test in May.

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