North Korea amassed a U.S. dollar fortune to buy luxury goods for leader Kim Jong-il through international insurance scams, the Washington Post reported Thursday. Based on testimony of Kim Kwang-jin, a former executive of North Korea's state insurance firm, the daily said US$20 million North Korea received from foreign insurance companies was delivered to Kim Jong-il through Beijing in February 2003.
The North made millions of dollars from major insurance firms for transportation accidents, burning of factories, and damages from natural disasters such as floods. "Some details emerged in London last year when lawyers for German insurance giant Allianz Global Investors, Lloyd's of London and several other reinsurers disputed a North Korean reinsurance claim for the 2005 crash of a helicopter into a government-owned warehouse in Pyongyang," the paper said. The insurance companies suspected that the crash as well as a ruling of the North Korean court was fabricated but withdrew their case during trial in London and settled with North Korea, a near-complete victory for the communist country.
The article appeared as the global community tries to implement sanctions against North Korea in accordance with the United States Security Council Resolution 1874, and this implies vigorous tracking of North Korean practice of accumulating Kim Jong-il's slush funds through global insurance fraud.