North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has put his younger sister Yeo-jong in charge of the regime's coffers since the execution of his uncle Jang Song-taek on Dec. 12 last year.
Kim Jong-un ordered the restructuring of hard-currency earners, which used to be controlled by Jang, North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a group of North Korean activists in South Korea, quoted a North Korean source as saying. The source said Kim Yeo-jong has taken charge of Department 54 and other currency-earning agencies in the Workers Party.
Department 54 supplies electricity, coal, fuel, clothes and other necessities to the military but also runs a slew of other businesses. It was originally operated by the military but Jang placed it under the supervision of the party when the Army chief Ri Yong-ho was dismissed in 2012.
Kim Yeo-jong has also taken control of Taesong Bank and the Reunification and Development Bank under the Workers Party's Room 39; Taehung Management Bureau and Kumgang Management Bureau under Room 38; and Kyonghung Guidance Bureau and Rakwon Guidance Bureau, which used to be controlled by her aunt Kim Kyong-hui, according to the solidarity group.
Choe Ryong-hae, the military Politburo chief, reportedly asked Kim Jong-un to put Department 54 back into military hands to buy Chinese fighter jets, but his request was rejected. Instead, the military was given charge of about 30 trading companies that had been run by the Cabinet, it added.