North Korea Found to Have Made $200 Million by Dodging UN Sanctions

The report, submitted to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee, revealed that North Korea had exported coals to ports "including in Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam", using forged paperwork that showed Russia and China-as well as other countries-as the origin of coal, instead of Pyongyang.

North Korea made almost $200 million previous year by violating United Nations sanctions and shipping coal to multiple countries, according to an exclusive Reuters report.

The UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017 adopted a series of resolutions to expand bans on North Korea exports created to cut off revenue to Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It included a ban on exports of North Korean goods, such as machinery and electrical equipment.

The investigations reveal "substantial new evidence" concerning Pyongyang's military cooperation with Damascus, including at least 3 visits by North Korean technicians to Syria in 2016.

North Korean financial institutions, including banks which have been sanctions by the council, "maintain more than 30 overseas representatives who live and move freely across borders in the Middle East and Asia, where they control bank accounts, facilitate transactions and deal in bulk cash", the report said.

The confidential report to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee also referenced information that the reclusive country provided ballistic missile systems to Myanmar.

North Korea is also said to have supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar, including materials for ballistic weapons technology and chemical weapons manufacturing.

"Technicians continue to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzei, Adra and Hama", a member-state, which was not named, told the panel.

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The Syrian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the UN report.

The country falsified documents to hide where the coal initially came from, according to Reuters, which viewed the report on Friday.

Syria and Myanmar are continuing cooperation with North Korea's KOMID corporation, the country's main arms exporter, which is on a United Nations sanctions blacklist, the report said.

In September, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed restrictions on eight North Korean banks and 26 people operating in four countries, in an attempt to weaken the Kim Jong Un regime.

The report said "if confirmed, it would constitute the resolution's violation".

North Korea "is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries, and the worldwide banking system", the panel noted.

The UN monitors "also investigated cases of ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in violation (of UN sanctions). and found that the network behind these vessels is primarily based in Taiwan province of China".

According to Reuters, the authors of the report investigated North Korean arms shipments with Syria and Myanmar.

  • Myrtle Hill