The mystery of how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gets his Mercedes-Benz limos and other luxury cars in defiance of United Nations sanctions has been solved. Mostly.
Daimler executives were among those puzzled to see that Kim and his entourage rode to meetings with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin this year in a Mercedes SUV and two hand-built Maybachs. The dictator also has been spotted cruising around in a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
An investigation by The New York Times and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies details the four-month trip, with stops in at least five countries, taken by two armored Maybach S600 sedans worth $500,000 each. Their meandering journey by road, sea and air began in June 2018 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
It's unclear who bought the cars originally and where, the report published said, but they arrived in Rotterdam by truck inside sealed containers.
They then traveled on four different ships, stopping at ports in China, Japan and South Korea, before apparently being airlifted from Vladivostok, Russia, into North Korea in October by the same cargo planes that carry Kim's cars for foreign trips.
South Korean authorities later seized the ship that took the cars to Russia on suspicion of sanctions violations.