WASHINGTON (AP) _ Republican lawmakers on Tuesday asked investigators to examine whether Bush administration efforts to transfer $25 million from a North Korean account would violate money laundering and counterfeit laws.
Six members of Congress, including the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, asked that the Government Accountability Office investigate whether moves by the State and Treasury departments to facilitate the transfer broke the law.
As part of a deal to get North Korea to halt its nuclear program, the U.S. has been looking for ways to satisfy Pyongyang's demands that the money be transferred electronically from an account at Banco Delta Asia in Macau, a Chinese territory.
North Korea has refused to move on its pledge made in February to shut down its nuclear reactor until it has received the money, now sitting in accounts at Banco Delta Asia in Macau, a Chinese territory.
The Treasury Department said Monday that officials were discussing with Russian and Macau authorities a way to transfer the funds.
In a letter to the head of the GAO, David Walker, the members of Congress called reports of the government efforts to get the North Korean money transferred from the Macau bank ``disturbing.''
Ros-Lehtinen also questioned whether the moves would ultimately get North Korea to disarm.
``If history is any indication, I have little confidence that the North Korean regime will adhere to any agreement despite our good faith efforts to honor our side of the bargain,'' she said in a statement.
A State Department spokeswoman, Janelle Hironimus, would not comment. The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.