June 19, 2013 / 6:25 PM / 6 years ago

North Korean leader Kim used luxury yacht to tour coast: website

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un toured the impoverished country’s east coast last month in a 95-foot luxury yacht, a boat that could be prohibited under U.N. sanctions, a website that tracks events in the reclusive state said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year address in Pyongyang in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency on January 1, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA

North Korea is banned from importing luxury goods under layers of U.N. sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests.

The NK News website said the yacht, a Princess 95MY made by British-based Princess Yachts, was possibly a recent purchase. The Washington-based website gave no evidence for when the boat was bought.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency released a photograph of Kim on May 28 that showed him walking along a dock with military officers. The starboard side of a luxury boat is visible to the right of the picture.

Will Green, sales director for Princess Yachts International, told NK News it suspected the boat was a 95MY.

“Given we launched the 95MY some years ago, many of them will have since changed hands on the private brokerage market,” said Green, adding the company was looking into the matter.

Princess Yachts is part of LVMH, the world’s top luxury group by sales.

An updated version of the 95MY, the Princess 98MY, sells for more than $8.7 million, NK News said.

It said Kim’s 10-day trip last month was his longest outside Pyongyang since taking power in late 2011, when his father Kim Jong-il died. Kim Jong-un had based himself in the eastern city of Wonsan for the trip, NK News said.

New sanctions imposed in March in response to North Korea’s third nuclear test on February 12 included tougher financial restrictions to try to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The resolution also gave examples of luxury items North Korea could not import, such as yachts and racing cars.

Sanctions aimed at crimping the lifestyle of the elite were first imposed in 2006 but until March the resolutions had never given examples of such goods, leaving it up to individual countries to decide what constituted a luxury product.

In 2009, Austrian and Italian authorities seized two luxury yachts that had been sold to North Korea.

Reporting by Jack Kim. Writing by Dean Yates. Editing by Mark Benedict

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