North Korea is believed to have illegally imported coal and iron into South Korea by transhipping it through Russia, according to recent reports.
According to South Korea, approximately $6 million worth of coal and pig iron illegally entered their ports last year from North Korea, potentially in violation of UN sanctions. Three local companies were involved in the scheme; they used false invoices saying that the resources had come from Russia, but in fact had simply been shipped through Russian ports. Payments were made through shell companies in Hong Kong.
Analysis: The transhipment of resources through Russia is another example of DPRK’s efforts to move its resources and raise money for the regime. Several months ago, reports indicated that North Korea was “laundering” its coal through Russian ports, commingling North Korean coal with Russian coal in order to facilitate its sale.