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SCOTT JAGOW: North Korea’s dictator might be up to some trickery. The Times of London says Kim Jong Il could be trying to use the London Gold market to get around financial sanctions. These sanctions were imposed after North Korea detonated a nuclear device in October. Stephen Beard has more from London.
STEPHEN BEARD: The U.N. and U.S. sanctions are designed to prevent Kim Jong Il from gaining foreign currency and using it to fund his nuclear program.
But gold sales are not covered and the dictator seems keen to exploit the loophole. North Korea has re-listed with the London Bullion Market.
David Robertson of The Times newspaper who broke the story says Kim could raise as much as a quarter of a billion dollars a year from selling gold.
DAVID ROBERTSON: It’s a substantial sum of money and to a regime like the North Koreans’, where they do struggle to get access to international markets, that sort of sum of money will open a lot of doors for them.
North Korea’s gold mines need investment, but at least one London- based investment fund is ready to put money into the sector. No one at the fund could be contacted this morning. No one at the London Bullion Market was available for comment either.
And a spokesman at the North Korean Embassy here was quoted saying: “It’s all just blah, blah blah.”
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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