July 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice said on Tuesday that four Chinese nationals and a Chinese company have been charged with conspiring to evade sanctions related to North Korea by trying to conceal financial transactions on behalf of North Korean entities linked to weapons of mass destruction.
In a statement, the Justice Department said an indictment by a federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey charged Ma Xiaohong, her company Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co, and three of its officials with sanctions violations, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to launder money.
“Through the use of more than 20 front companies, the defendants are alleged to have sought to obscure illicit financial dealings on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities that were involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.
The defendants could not immediately be located, and it is unclear whether they have lawyers. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Susan Thomas)