North Korea uses front companies, embassies to mask weapons trade: UN reportUpdated: 2014-03-13 AM 6:38:08 (KST)
Pyongyang has developed a number of sophisticated ways to get around UN sanctions on illegal weapons trading.
A UN report, released Tuesday as part of an annual accounting of North Korea's compliance with international sanctions, says that the isolated nation has been employing complicated financial countermeasures that made purchases of prohibited products more difficult to trace.
The report said the North Korean embassies in Cuba and Singapore are suspected of facilitating illegal weapons deals, including a shipment of fighter jets and missile parts seized on a North Korean cargo ship in Panama last year.
The report adds that there's a relatively complex "corporate ecosystem" of foreign-based firms that helped the regime evade scrutiny of its financial dealings.
The report cited an example of a contract by North Korea's national carrier, Air Koryo , to purchase new jetliners in 2012.
It said more than 1-hundred payments were structured through eight Hong Kong-registered companies.
While the purchase of civilian aircraft is not prohibited under UN sanctions, the report says such unusual activity could be used as a test run for illegal transactions.
Officials at Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday that South Korea will work with the international community to better enforce sanctions that are already in place.
Pyongyang is currently restricted under UN sanctions from shipping and receiving cargo related to its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Importing luxury goods and illicit transfers of cash are also prohibited.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.
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