Probe Reveals Elusive Structure of N.Korean Company

      July 26, 2010 12:53

      Hong Kong government investigators have inspected an office in the territory belonging to North Korea's Taepung International Investment Group as part of U.S.-led financial sanctions against North Korea. Taepung is charged with attracting foreign investment to the North.

      Investigators say that the company registered itself under the address Rm.# 2508, Lippo Centre, Hong Kong with the authorities, but the only office at that address is the Law Office of Ho, Wong and Wong.

      Companies registry documents obtained by the Chosun Ilbo show a complicated network of related businesses. It was established in April 2006 with parent company Taepung International Investment Holdings owning all of its shares. Taepung is capitalized at 20 million Hong Kong dollars (W3.2 billion).

      It registered a company called Saiying, also listed at the Lippo Centre address, as its corporate secretary, which serves as a bridge with the Hong Kong government. China Deals Finder, which was in turn registered as the corporate secretary of Saiying, also has the same address.

      The parent companies of both Saiying and CDF are registered under the same address in tax haven the Virgin Islands. They are paper companies capitalized at 50,000 and 10,000 dollars respectively and have shifted addresses, board of directors and secretaries several times. The law office of Ho, Wong and Wong handled the reporting of each change.

      "It appears that Taepung turned to the aid of a legal expert to conceal the identity of its true owner and make it difficult to track its financial activities," said a financial expert in Hong Kong.

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