Anchor: Speculation has emerged that a group of apparent North Korean paper companies in an offshore tax haven are tied to former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's massive slush funds. The shell companies are believed to be a crucial link to Kim’s hidden accounts that U.S. investigators spent years looking for after the UN placed financial sanctions on them. An independent journalists' group exposed the names of the paper companies just Thursday.
Our Kim Soyon reports.
Report: The Korea Center for Investigative Journalism unveiled Thursday the names of four paper companies in an offshore tax haven believed to be North Korean.
Three of them bear North Korean-style names: Chollima Ltd., Chosun Ltd. and Koryo Telecom Ltd.
The address of one director of the company Larivader Solutions Inc. set up in the British Virgin Islands is reportedly registered as Mao Lang Bong District in Pyongyang, North Korea.
This is a key area within the capital as it’s home to several state agencies, the Chinese Embassy, and apparently many ranking North Korean officials. Therefore, it’s possible the paper firm belongs to a powerful North Korean organ such as the Ministry of People's Armed Forces.
Moreover, the names of two registered directors of the firm are very similar to two Hong Kong businessmen who were deeply involved in North Korea’s telecommunication business since the 1990s.
It’s also important to note the paper companies were established in the early 2000s. Experts say North Korea was in dire economic straits around this time due to the global containment policy and it could have diverted funds through use of shell companies.
It’s also unusual for a paper firm to indicate a shipping address. This is an implication the address was likely actually used by North Korean state agencies for transactions connected to amassing Kim Jong-il’s slush funds.
Kim Soyon, KBS World Radio News.