Dutch officials seized 90,000 bottles of Russian vodka they believe were bound for North Korea

Robin Utrecht/AFP/GettyPicture shows vodka bottles that were seized by the Dutch customs authorities in the port of Rotterdam, on February 26, 2019.
  • Officials in the Netherlands seized a shipment of 90,000 bottles of Russian vodka that were found underneath an aircraft fuselage, on a ship bound for China, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported.
  • But Dutch officials believe that the shipment was really intended for North Korea, which would be a violation of United Nations sanctions against the country importing luxury goods.
  • The discovery comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in Vietnam on Wednesday.

When Kim Jong-un returns to North Korea after his summit with President Donald Trump, he may find his liquor cabinet running low.

On Friday, officials in the Netherlands seized a shipment of 90,000 bottles of Russian vodka that they believe were bound for North Korea, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported.

North korea vodka 1Robin Utrecht/AFP/GettyCustoms authorities believe the shipment of vodka may have been destined for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The bottles of Stolovaya vodka were reportedly found in a shipping container, nestled underneath an aeroplane fuselage, on a vessel bound for China.

But Dutch officials told Algemeen Dagblad that they have information leading them to believe that the shipment was really intended for Kim and his military commanders, which would be a violation of United Nations sanctions against the country.

“We do not want to release more information than necessary about our control strategy,” customs official Arno Kooij told the paper. “But what I can tell you is that, based on the information available, we suspected that this particular container was subject to the sanctions regime for North Korea.”


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The UN bans member countries from trading luxury goods to North Korea, where nearly half of the population is malnourished, according to estimates from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

But Kim is believed to regularly flout these rules.

North korea vodka 3Robin Utrecht/AFP/GettyThe United Nations bans member countries from trading luxury goods to North Korea. Above, a customs official looks through the vodka shipment.

Last year, a South Korean lawmaker estimated North Korea had spent $US4 billion on luxury goods from China since Kim took power in 2011.

“Kim has bought lavish items from China and other places like a seaplane for not only his own family, and also expensive musical instruments, high-quality TVs, sedans, liquor, watches, and fur as gifts for the elites who prop up his regime,” lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun said in a statement, according to Reuters.

An investigation has been launched to determine where exactly the shipment was headed.

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