US sanctions have a weak spot: tiny allies like Latvia

RIGA, Latvia (AP) When the U.S. hit North Korea with sanctions last year, Pyongyang’s state-owned banks found a quiet backchannel to keep money flowing to the country’s ballistic missile programs, the U.S. says: the tiny European country of Latvia.

One of the biggest banks in Latvia a member country of the European Union and NATO built a business from processing illegal money transfers, enabling North Korea to continue to procure missiles, the U.S. government says.

Latvia has come into focus as a potential weak link in the West’s banking system as the U.S. and EU increasingly rely on financial sanctions as

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