Take the Money and Run
North Korea is rushing to withdraw money from its overseas bank accounts after the United Nations imposed financial and other sanctions for its nuclear test, a report said.
South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo newspaper, quoting sources in Beijing, said the North had begun withdrawing funds from accounts in Macau and elsewhere for fear they would be frozen.
The paper said funds were being pulled out of almost all the communist state’s foreign accounts held either by individuals or trading firms. It gave no details. [AFP]
It’s unfortunate to see the North Koreans getting away with this loot, but it’s also true that the very threat of sanctions is already disrupting North Korea’s financial relationships. Money is no good sitting in a satchel, not drawing interest, and losing value to inflation. Furthermore, the transaction cost of laundering North Korean money must have risen astronomically in the last few weeks. Somehow, the North Koreans will have to find a place to spend or launder that money.
And pretty soon, there will be one less place for them to spend it:
Starting June 18 until April next year, all exports [from Japan] to North Korea will be banned, along with an entry ban for foreigners who violate laws restricting trade and money transactions to the North. The measure comes on top of an earlier ban on exports of luxury goods following the North’s first nuclear test in 2006. [Chosun Ilbo]