Thursday, March 14, 2013

How rich is North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un?

There is an old Chinese proverb, "become a government official, get rich,"  meaning that the government service is filled with opportunities for graft.  Although the proverb dates back to imperial times, it continues to be true in modern communist/socialist countries.  Just like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un has become fabulously wealthy.  The South Korean newspaper Cho Sun has details:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has stashed away some US$4-5 billion in bank accounts in other people's names in Austria, China, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Russia, Singapore and Switzerland, intelligence agencies believe.
Where does his money come from? The usual: illegal trade in weapons and drugs, counterfeit currency, and such:
Most of Kim's slush funds are foreign-currency revenues generated by North Korean businesses attached to the military or other government entities. Some of the money comes from legitimate activities, such as sales of agricultural and fisheries products or minerals and North Korean laborers working abroad. But the bulk comes from illicit activities such as selling drugs, dealing in counterfeit money, cigarettes, liquor or exporting weapons.
What about the international sanctions imposed on N. Korea? The Russian mob knows how to get around them:
Since high-ranking North Korean officials and state agencies have been banned from engaging in financial transactions overseas, Pyongyang is apparently relying on the Russian mafia to launder money and operate secret slush funds.
Although liberals often claim to have great faith in international sanctions, here as elsewhere, they seem to have little practical effect.

Hat tip: GatewayPundit.

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