GA Company Violates North Korea Sanctions
A New Zealand general aviation manufacturer is facing heavy fines and its executives prison sentences for violating international trade sanctions against North Korea. Pacific Aerospace, which makes a STOL turboprop utility aircraft called the PAC 750, and its executive officers will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty to “indirectly” exporting aircraft parts to the country, which has been isolated by trade sanctions for its aggressive nuclear weapons posture. The investigation began last September when a PAC 750 showed up in Korean colors at the country’s first airshow. At the time, the Pacific Aerospace CEO said he didn’t know how the airplane, which had been sold to a Chinese company, ended up in North Korea with that country’s flag on its tail. A United Nations investigation found a different story in going through an email exchange between the company and the Chinese owner.
Investigators said the email string shows Pacific Aerospace clearly knew the airplane was in North Korea. It offered parts for the aircraft and training in their installation for the North Korean operators to be coordinated in China. The company faces fines of up to $100,000 and executives could face up to a year in prison and $10,000 in fines. It was prosecuted by Customs New Zealand for three breaches of United Nations Sanctions and one charge under the Customs and Excise Act and pleaded guilty to all the charges earlier this month. It’s not clear what the North Koreans are using the plane for but it’s commonly used to carry up to 17 skydivers. A military version is under development.