Monday, October 1, 2012
Room 39 is a secret government organization located in North Korea. It is a bit of an unusual place because nobody knows for sure where it is. Many people feel that the operation takes place out of the Labor Party building in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Room 39 was established in the late 1970s and has been described as the head of North Korea’s “court economy” centered on the Kim family. Many people have reported that it is the slush fund of Kim Jong-il. A slush fund is typically a monetary account or a reserve fund. However, within a government it can also refer to corrupt political dealings. Room 39 holds as much as $5 billion in funds and may be involved in many illegal activities. It appears that North Korea is looking for ways to get Kim Jong-il large amounts of foreign currency.
It has been widely speculated that the organization uses ten to twenty bank accounts in China and Switzerland for the purposes of money laundering and other illegal activities. People have also alleged that Room 39 is involved in drug smuggling, weapons sales, and even the sale of nuclear weapons secrets. The seclusion of the North Korean state makes it difficult to evaluate this kind of information, but it is thought that Room 39 is critical to Kim Jong-il’s continued power, enabling him to bribe people and fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The United States accused Room 39 of selling military technology to obtain foreign currency, which North Korea denied. Room 39 could also be operating overseas through the North Korean restaurant chain Pyongyang. The main operating center is one of North Korea’s most protected areas. It is also one of the most dangerous locations in the world, unless you are a high ranking North Korean military official.