Daimler says it has no idea how North Korea got hold of limousines | World news

The parent company of Mercedes-Benz has said it has no idea how the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, got hold of armoured limousines manufactured by the German company and said it had no business dealings with the UN-sanctioned country.

Kim has raised eyebrows by using stretch limousines manufactured by Stuttgart-based Daimler AG at high-profile summits, including his meeting this week with Vladimir Putin and both of his earlier summits with Donald Trump.

The sale of luxury goods, including limousines, is banned under UN sanctions intended to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Kim nevertheless had two limos waiting for him at Vladivostok station – a Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman Guard and a Mercedes Maybach S62. He is believed to have also used the S600 Pullman Guard for his summits with the US president in Singapore in June last year and in Hanoi in February.

A security guard stands by a Mercedes Maybach limousine used by Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok.

A security guard stands by a Mercedes Maybach limousine used by Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok in April. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

“We have absolutely no idea how those vehicles were delivered to North Korea,” Silke Mockert, a Daimler AG spokeswoman, said on Wednesday. “For Daimler, the correct export of products in conformance with the law is a fundamental principle of responsible entrepreneurial activity.”

According to Daimler, the Pullman limousines offer their passengers “a superbly appointed setting for discreet meetings”.

The version used by Kim is believed to be equipped with key communications and entertainment systems so that, according to a company description of the car, its occupants can remain “fully in touch with the rest of the world while enjoying the luxury and comfort of their own very special place in it.”.

Kim Jong-un’s limousine in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he met Donald Trump.

Kim Jong-un’s limousine in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he met Donald Trump in February. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Daimler is one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious automobile companies. On its homepage, the multinational firm boasts of selling vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and of having production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.

North Korea, however, is not one of its official customers.

“Our company has had no business connections with North Korea for far more than 15 years now and strictly complies with EU and US embargos,” she said. “To prevent deliveries to North Korea and to any of its embassies worldwide, Daimler has implemented a comprehensive export control process. Sales of vehicles by third parties, especially of used vehicles, are beyond our control and responsibility.”

Source link