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Astana, Kazakhstan • 17 August 2023

Kazakh Company Included in US Sanctions List Over North Korea Ties

The Kazakh authorities note that the company has been defunct since February 14, 2021

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Samuel Corum for Bloomberg via Getty Images
Samuel Corum for Bloomberg via Getty Images

On August 16, the U.S. Department of the Treasury included Defence Engineering, an Astana-registered company, in the sanctions list due to its involvement in illicit arms trade funneled by North Korea to support Russia's conflict in Ukraine, QazMonitor reports citing the Ministry of National Economy.

The Ministry of National Economy issued an official statement affirming that Kazakh authorities are closely collaborating with Western partners and taking necessary actions concerning the sanctioned company.

"The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury has indeed included Defence Engineering in the SDN sanctions list. The company is registered in Astana, and as of today, it is inactive," reads the statement.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the company's operations have been suspended since February 14, 2021.

The Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development reports that the said company was not granted licenses or permits for the transportation of specific goods. We attribute the company's inclusion in the sanctions list to the fact that its owner, Ashot Mkrtychev—who is not a resident of Kazakhstan—is under U.S. sanctions. The inclusion of the company in the sanctions list is of a technical nature. Ashot Mkrtychev left the territory of Kazakhstan on March 7, 2020, and no entry into the country has occurred since then.

The Ministry of National Economy

Furthermore, the authorities note that aside from Defence Engineering, Ashot Mkrtychev has two more companies registered in other jurisdictions.

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