Salesman sentenced over €13mn deals with Kim Jong-il

An Austrian businessman has been sentenced for selling luxury goods to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il for more than 20 years.Judges at the Criminal Court of Vienna yesterday (Mon) found the entrepreneur guilty of having breached the international trade embargo issued on the dictatorial regime.The defendant sold eight Mercedes-Benz S-Class limousines and two yachts worth more than 13 million Euros to Kim via a commissioner.Judges heard how North Korean official Yon Rok Kwon approached the Viennese ship parts dealer in the 1980s. The Austrian agreed to provide the leader of North Korea, where many people endure extreme poverty, with shipping equipment and various Western European items like trumpets, drums and a Steinway piano before purchasing expensive cars for Kim.Yon used Chinese middlemen and bank accounts to handle the transfers. The illicit operations were exposed when he failed to find a Chinese partner for one deal.Clerks at an Austrian bank informed financial issues authorities when the Austrian businessman received three million Euros directly from a bank account in North Korea last year.State prosecutor Michael Schön accused the man of having “damaged the reputation of Austria” with his dealings. The defendant belittled his actions. He told judges: “I’m a salesman, not a politician. It’s not as if I helped them building an atom bomb.”The entrepreneur was given a suspended nine-month prison term and ordered to pay a fine of 3.3 million Euros.