Libya and North Korean UF6/Missiles Revisited

“At the beginning of the month”: I wrote a post about a New York _Times_ article which detailed some of the intelligence reportedly indicating that North Korea sold UF6 to Libya.

Specifically, the _Times_ wrote:

More recently, United States officials have tried to follow the money trail. They argue that Libyan funds made it to companies or banks linked to North Korea. One foreign diplomat said I.A.E.A. investigators were digging through the same financial records that the United States had examined, and traced the money flow through money launderers to Khan front companies and “various bank accounts all over the world.”

But banking secrecy, he added, had impeded making firm links to North Korea despite “a couple places pointing to the D.P.R.K.,” or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but gave no further details.

I responded with what I thought was a reasonable observation:

Even if Libya was transferring cash to North Korea, the money may well have been for missile components, etc., rather than nuclear material.

However, upon further reflection, I realized that I commented without knowing enough about Libya’s method for buying North Korean missiles.

It may be that Libya paid for the North Korean missiles directly, rather than going through front companies. After all, there was nothing illegal about the transfers.

On the other hand, we can all think of reasons why both Libya and North Korea would want to keep their missile business a bit quiet.

Some information drawing the distinction (if there is one) between the Khan network’s front companies and any such companies that Libya or North Korea used for their missile deals would be helpful.

Thoughts, anyone?

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