WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A bank in Jordan, a strong U.S. ally in the region, may have unknowingly moved cash for the North Koreans to finance illicit weapons programs, cables suggest.
Sensitive cables distributed by WikiLeaks and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal suggest Jordan's Arab Bank PLC was used by North Korea to get money from Syria and Iran to help with its proliferation activity.
An August 2007 cable from the U.S. State Department to Washington's embassy in Amman expressed concern "that Iran, Syria and DPRK (North Korea) proliferation entities are using the Arab Bank network to process what may be proliferation-related transactions."
Arab Bank, in a statement published by the Journal, said it "does not believe" it carried out business with the North Koreans. The bank was fined in 2005 by U.S. banking regulators for not having mechanisms in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, the newspaper adds.
The cables suggest the Jordanian bank processed the North Korean activity without knowing about it.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, at its regular summer meeting with the board of governors in Vienna, expressed concern about the Syrian, North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.