Sydney man charged as 'agent' for North Korea


Australian Federal Police have charged a 59-year-old Sydney man for allegedly working as a black-market agent to sell missile components and coal for North Korea. Police would allege all of the activity - allegedly a classic black market operation created to sell products from North Korea to other worldwide entities - occurred offshore.

But Mr Gaughan emphasised neither the governments of Indonesia nor Vietnam, or officials in those countries, were involved.

The Australian government has repeatedly expressed its support for the USA in opposition to the actions of the North Korean regime.

Police allege the man was generating tens of millions of dollars for the Pyongyang regime by arranging the sale of missiles, components and expertise from North Korea to other worldwide entities, and was trying to arrange the transfer of coal from the country to Indonesia and Vietnam.

He is scheduled to appear in Central Local Court next week.

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Police started investigating the suspect after a tip "from another worldwide agency on another matter".

"We're alleging all the activity occurred offshore", Gaughan said.

"This man is a loyal agent of North Korea, believing he was acting to serve some higher patriotic goal".

Two attempted transactions had been unsuccessful, police said, but if they had been closed the trades would have been worth tens of millions of dollars.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said this morning investigators carefully and methodically investigated the actions of this individual over a period of months. AFP officers conducted search warrants in Sydney on Saturday and the man was "subsequently arrested" in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood.

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"The Australian public should be assured that police have acted to ensure no direct risk to our community".

The maximum penalty for the offences is 10 years' imprisonment.

"Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions can not and will not go unnoticed in Australia".

He said the Australian police started investigating the man after tip-off from another worldwide agency on another matter.

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