North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un spends a fortune on luxury goods, surpassing even his wildly extravagant father, according to a United Nations report released on Monday.
His father, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011, was so attached to the high life that when the U.S. imposed sanctions in 2006, the State Department made a point of banning imported yachts, race cars, furs and plasma TVs over 29 inches.
The elder Kim's son and successor has apparently developed the same tastes, and then some.
The U.N. report says that, in violation of sanctions, Kim Jong Un has imported luxury whiskey and cognac, and the components of a 1,000-person cinema, according to Reuters. The regime has also tried to get ahold of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, high-end musical recording equipment and dozens of pianos, the report continues.
"Luxury good expenditure by the DPRK rose to $645.8 million in 2012. Reportedly, this was a sharp increase from the average of $300 million a year under Kim Jong-il," the report notes, referring to a British newspaper article.
Meanwhile, the U.N. investigation provides chilling details of abuse and political repression in North Korea, including the death of prisoners through “deliberate starvation” and widespread hunger and malnutrition throughout the country.
And while North Korea struggles to feed itself, the country’s leadership maintains “parallel funds” from illegal and legal activities to fuel the extravagance of the few.
The U.N. report said the funds are "kept at the personal disposal of the Supreme Leader and used to cover personal expenses of the Supreme Leader, his family and other elites surrounding him, as well as other politically sensitive expenditures.”
Revenue sources include drug smuggling, selling alcohol in Islamic countries and trafficking ivory from Africa to China, a former North Korean official told the human rights investigators.
The report is a result of a year-long investigation by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which included defector hearings in South Korea, Japan, Britain and the United States. North Korea refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Clearly, Kim Jong Un was too busy enjoying the finer side of life.