N.K. leader used luxury cars banned under U.N. sanctions: panel

WASHINGTON, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was seen in luxury vehicles that are banned under United Nations sanctions during his meetings with foreign leaders last year, a U.N. panel said Tuesday.

Kim was filmed stepping out of a Rolls-Royce Phantom limousine in Pyongyang on Oct. 7, apparently to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a report by the U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions on North Korea.

A number of Mercedes-Benz limousines were seen without license plates during the leader's meetings in Beijing, Singapore and Pyongyang.

And several Lexus LX 570 all-wheel drive luxury vehicles were spotted during the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in September, the report said.

All the cars are subject to U.N. sanctions that ban the supply of luxury automobiles to North Korea.

The committee said it requested information on the cars.

In its reply, Rolls-Royce identified its vehicle as a seventh generation Phantom Extended Wheelbase series II manufactured between August 2012 and February 2017 at its Goodwood manufacturing facility in England.

The panel said it determined that some of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles in question had been transported from California to Dalian, China, at the direction of a Chinese businessman whose company had previously been involved in the shipment of arms-related material to Brazzaville.

Singapore and China were asked to provide records on the vehicles, one of which had reportedly been used by the head of South Korea's presidential security service.

Singapore replied in a letter in December that "it had requested for the vehicles' chassis and engine numbers, but the DPRK officials declined to reveal this information due to national security reasons."

DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In the case of the Lexus vehicles, Toyota Motor Corp. informed the panel that it was unable to determine their vehicle identification number.

"Toyota complies with applicable U.N. resolutions in relation to the DPRK and has no intention of the export of these motor vehicles to, or the manufacture of, motor vehicles in the DPRK," the carmaker was cited as telling the panel.

"We can only assume that these vehicles come from back channels and are exchanged among individuals," it said, adding that the vehicles in question were manufactured between January 2012 and July 2015.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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