Luxembourg to Help Track N.Korean Bank Accounts
Luxembourg has promised to cooperate with UN and U.S. financial sanctions against North Korea, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.
A spokesman for Luxembourg's Finance Ministry told RFA that the country is closely watching for any illegal activities by the North using offshore accounts and will take "appropriate legal steps" if it finds them.
He claimed Luxembourg regularly updates domestic laws in accordance with international norms to monitor and punish those involved in illegal activities.
The country is committed to implementing sanctions against the North under UN Security Council Resolution 1874, he added.
In March, the Daily Telegraph said North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has a US$4 billion slush fund stashed away abroad in case he has to flee the North. Kim's operatives "withdrew the money -- in cash, in order not to leave a paper trail -- and transferred it to banks in Luxembourg," it said.
But at the time, the office of the grand duchy's prime minister said it had no information about North Korean financial assets and there was no need to check. Although Luxembourg is a member of the EU, it is not easy to keep track of bank accounts there because it has a different bank payment and settlement system from other members.
On July 22, Hong Kong started a legal review of Taepung International Investment Group, a North Korean firm founded to attract foreign capital, and other North Korean companies.
Open Radio for North Korea on Wednesday quoted a North Korean source as saying the country's former ambassador to Switzerland Ri Chol returned to the North in March to make sure Kim Jong-il's secret accounts overseas are safely handed over to Kim Jong-un, his son and heir apparent.