May 17, 2011 09:05
North Korean Embassy officials in India are being investigated for involvement in a luxury car smuggling case worth W100 billion (US$1=W1,091).
Senior officials of the North Korean and Vietnamese embassies are suspected of smuggling luxury sedans and motorcycles, evading customs duties estimated at 5 billion rupees (approximately W120 billion) over the past years, the Indian Express reported Monday.
According to India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Sumit Walia, alias Sunny (32) imported stolen or secondhand foreign cars using the embassy officials as frontmen to evade customs duties and sold them as brand-new.
In India, secondhand foreign cars are subject to tariffs of 160 percent and new cars to 109 percent. But diplomats are exempt.
Walia bought stolen cars chiefly from the U.K, and forged their registration documents to disguise them as new cars. He imported them in the name of the diplomats and allegedly sold them to businessmen, politicians, and celebrities.
Indian authorities have confiscated 41 cars. Most of them are top brand cars such as BMW, Ferrari, Lexus, and Porsche.
The DRI estimated the amount of customs duties Walia and his gang have evaded at 5 billion rupees. The agency has asked the Indian Foreign Ministry for cooperation with the investigation to find out what role the North Korean and Vietnamese embassy officials played.
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