Kim Jong-il's Yachts Impounded

      July 20, 2009 10:10

      Two luxury yachts ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il have been confiscated by Italian police, Italian daily Libero-News reported Friday. It said financial police in the province of Lucca in Tuscany confiscated two yachts waiting for delivery to Kim in a shipyard in the city of Viareggio. The confiscation came under the international trade embargo against North Korea.

      In Resolution 1718 in 2006, the UN Security Council banned UN members from exporting luxury goods to North Korea. The two yachts were worth 13 million euros (approximately W23.4 billion), the daily reported.

      Italy's financial police are in charge of investigations into tax evasions or financial crimes. According to the daily, a businessman in Vienna, Austria paid cash to place an order for the yachts in the first place, but the title to the yachts and the responsibility for the balance were later transferred to a Chinese company.

      Financial police in Lucca became suspicious and, in cooperation with the Austrian government, tracked the relevant bank accounts back to Kim. Libero-News said investigations are now focused on how Kim is getting supplies of luxury goods from Italy and other European regions. The confiscated yachts will be put up for auction and the money already paid for them has been frozen.

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