PUBLIC ENEMY

North Korea's Insurance Fraud

Unsatisfied with the traditional comic-book villain trades of arms dealing, drug smuggling, and counterfeiting, Kim Jong-Il is also reportedly behind a global insurance fraud scheme as well. According to The Washington Post, North Korean insurance managers have delivered the leader "gifts" of as much as $20 million in cash derived from an elaborate plan in which the North Korean government collects huge sums in suspicious insurance claims over a variety of natural disasters and industrial accidents. According to a state department official who tracked the case under Bush, these payments have "become one of the North's largest illicit revenue generators" and provide much needed hard currency to the cash-strapped dictator. Foreign insurance companies have taken North Korea to court at times over the allegedly staged "disasters," but have found little success and often are scared of publicly revealing the scale of their losses.