On 30th September, VoA carried an article saying that North Korean efforts to evade international sanctions have been aided by companies registered in the UK, according to an investigation by the London-based Royal United Services Institute. British-registered companies are being used to operate cargo ships smuggling coal out of North Korea, which is the country’s biggest export. The report details how North Korea is able to access US and international financial systems by using a complex network of global actors and company structures. It says that of 6 vessels from one smuggling network, 4 have been owned by companies registered in the UK – one vessel, the Lucky Star, loaded coal in North Korea as recently as January, and another, Asia Bridge, loaded coal at Nampo in North Korea in early August. The report’s authors say their investigation raises significant questions about the enforcement of sanctions in the UK, and says that it must tighten oversight on the formation of companies because it is now too easy to create bogus companies.
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