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U.S. suspends importer of North Korean beer

Steve Park had failed to report revenue and expenditures on a regular basis, according to reports.

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S. suspends importer of North Korean beer
A North Korean advertisement for Taedonggang beer. File Photo by Yonhap

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The Justice Department has suspended a Korean American importer of North Korean beer – and has banned him from working as a foreign agent representing Pyongyang.

Steve Park, also known as Park Il-woo, is a veteran businessman and president of Korea Pyongyang Trading U.S.A. Radio Free Asia reported in 2011 Park received permission from the U.S. government to import North Korea's Taedonggang Beer, but Park's failure to file tax returns starting in 2008 was one of the reasons his agent status was recently terminated.

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The Foreign Agents Registration Act, which was passed in 1938, requires agents like Park to disclose information about their relationship with a foreign government.

South Korean outlet Newsis reported other lobbyists registered with the Treasury, and involved in North Korea activities, also were terminated as agents.

Park, who was registered under FARA in December 2011, has been involved in other North Korea promotion projects in the United States. Park has been connected to tourism projects in North Korea's Mount Kumgang region and investment proposals in the reclusive country.

Park was found in violation of FARA for not regularly reporting his income. Under the law, all foreign agents must report revenue and expenditures to the Treasury every six months, according to RFA.

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In 2012, Park's Korea Pyongyang Trading U.S.A. was shut down in New York State after receiving an order of dissolution.

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