A team of United Nations sanctions investigators have found that a shipment of Cuban weapons to North Korea last summer violated a UN arms embargo on the Asian nation.
The investigators also said there was a “comprehensive planned strategy to conceal”, Japan’s Kyodo News International news agency reports. The report to the UN Security Council states that the Cuban shipment constituted “sanctions violations,” the news agency said.
Panamanian authorities discovered the weapons, including anti-aircraft missile radar systems and engines for MiG warplanes, hidden under 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar when they seized the Chong Chon Gang freighter on its way to North Korea, according to the Miami Herald.
It said North Korea, officially named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), “used a string of companies for the shipment,” adding that the freighter turned off its locator beacon while it sailed in the Caribbean Sea. “The employment of so many role-players in support of the trip suggests a network of entities centrally managed working together to deflect scrutiny in order to evade sanctions by minimizing the DPRK’s visibility in transactions,” the UN investigators wrote.
Meantime, the Panamanian government said that the Chong Chon Gang sailed back to Cuba on Saturday, with most of its crew, after paying two-thirds of a US$1 million fine.
Cuba had said that it was dispatching obsolete Soviet-era weapons to be repaired in North Korea then returned to the island.
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