Documentary claims to expose North Korea trying to dodge sanctions
A new documentary with a bizarre cast of characters claims to shed light on North Korea’s efforts to evade international sanctions, by tricking members of Kim Jong-un’s secretive regime into signing fake arms deals.
The film features an out-of-work Danish chef fascinated by communist dictatorships; a Spanish nobleman and North Korean propagandist with a penchant for military uniform; and a former French legionnaire and convicted cocaine dealer who plays the part of an international man of mystery.
But could it all be true? One former UN official told the BBC he found it “highly credible”.
The film, titled The Mole, is the work of maverick Danish film maker Mads Brügger, who says he orchestrated a complex three-year sting operation to reveal how North Korea flouts international law.
The out-of-work chef fascinated by communist dictatorships is Ulrich Larsen, who, with Brügger’s help, infiltrates the Korean Friendship Association, a pro-regime group based in Spain. Larsen moves up the ranks and ultimately wins the favour and apparent trust of North Korean government officials.
Membership of the KFA brings Larsen into contact with its flamboyant founder and president, Alejandro Cao de Benós, a Spanish nobleman known around the world as “the Gatekeeper of North Korea”.
During the film, in which he is sometimes seen in North Korean military uniform, Cao de Benós boasts of his access and influence with the regime in Pyongyang.
Then there is Jim Latrache-Qvortrup, described as a former French legionnaire and convicted cocaine dealer. Latrache-Qvortrup is hired to play the part of an international arms dealer, which he does in an assortment of flashy suits.