The payment, however, was halted by Bank of America after officials realized that delivering computers to North Korea likely violated U.N. sanctions against supplying technology to the country.
A memorandum written by a WIPO attorney and addressed to the agency’s director general, Francis Gurry, said the computers sold to North Korea did not violate the U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.
At a briefing Thursday, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell declined to discuss the specifics of the case, but confirmed an investigation is under way.
“We’re reviewing their development projects both for Iran and the DPR,” he said. “We’re working with both the Director General and other member-states to institute reforms that will ensure future development projects are properly reviewed prior to being approved and implemented. And we’re working in New York to ensure that the U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committees play a more active role in advising international organizations on how to remain compliant with U.N. sanctions.”
Asked if the incident undercut the United Nations’ credibility and the effectiveness of the sanctions, Ventrell said, “I don’t know enough about where we are in terms of the evidence that’s coming … forth in terms of this review. What I do know is that the Obama administration has, for our national security interests, engaged very constructively and broadly with the U.N. And we think that that’s shown real results for our national security whether it comes to Iran’s sanctions or North Korea or a number of other issues.”
Intellpuke: This article is a compilation of reporting by msnbc.com and NBC News correspondents, including NBC's State Department producer Catherine Chomiak, in context here: openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/05/12586549-us-probes-shipment-of-high-tech-gear-to-iran-n-korea-by-un-agency?lite