North Korea misused $3M in UN aid, U.S. charges
About $3 million in WASHINGTON • United Nations money intended to help impoverished North Koreans was diverted by the Pyongyang government toward the purchase of property in France, Britain and Canada, according to a confidential U.S. State Department account of witness reports and internal business records. Millions more, the department reported, went to a North Korean institution linked to a bank alleged to handle arms deals.
The UN Development Program in North Korea spent about $3 million a year over the past decade to promote the country’s economic growth, foreign trade and investment. It halted operations in March after the U.S. alleged that the agency engaged in improper hiring and financial practices. A preliminary UN audit, released last week, confirmed that it violated its own guidelines by hiring area workers who were selected by the North Korean government and paying them in foreign currency.
But a separate U.S. State Department investigation suggests that some of the agency’s money enriched the North Korean government. The U.S.’ UN ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, presented the UN program’s administrator, Kemal Dervis, with new allegations regarding the North Korea programs Wednesday, a program spokesman confirmed.
The U.S. probe, headed by Mark Wallace, a deputy UN ambassador, also found that the UN program procured for North Korea equipment that could be used in a weapons program. Such “dual use” equipment included global-positioning system equipment, computers and computer accessories, and a device known as a mass spectrometer, used to determine the isotopic composition of elements.
The Washington Post