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How North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Secretly Finances His Luxury Lifestyle

North Korean dictator uses ill-gotten gains to spend billions while people go hungry.

Politics By

The last time Dennis Rodman traveled to North Korea, he regaled journalists of dictator/pal Kim Jong-un’s private luxury island and yacht, among other riches.

But how does the corrupt leader finance a lifestyle much grander than even Rodman’s former Bulls teammate Michael Jordan could afford, while his country is under such strict economic sanctions?

CNN did some digging, and what they’ve come up with is truly amazing. Per a 2014 report issued by the UN, North Korea hauled in $645.8 million in luxury goods in 2012 alone. Comparing that to 2015’s total imports and subtracting the goods bought from its biggest trade partner, China, North Korea imported more luxury items than it did essential goods for the populace.

All of that is financed by Jong-un’s own personal coffer filled to the brim with questionably-sourced funds from shady international dealings. These include alleged bank hacks, weapons sales, drug deals, and trafficking of endangered species, among other illicit sources of income.

Besides paying for Jong-un’s luxury lifestyle, it’s illicit funds like these that are believed to fund the country’s now seemingly regular missile tests and assassination plots.

Like many of the Chinese businesses that are making big-time international acquisitions, it’s next to impossible to completely follow the trail of North Korea’s money. But CNN cites a 2008 Congressional Research Service report, which places North Korea’s illicit funds at anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion, annually.

Read full story at CNN