Ottawa Citizen

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

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