Likely North Korean “Supernote” is Found in South Korea

The North Korean are continuing to print counterfeit US currency as one of their major criminal enterprises:

A high-quality fake $100 note recently discovered in South Korea has stoked concerns of North Korean counterfeiting, Agence France Presse reported Tuesday.

Forgery experts at KEB Hana Bank said the $100 note, which was found at a Seoul branch in November, was almost identical to real notes.

“It was the first of a new kind of supernote ever found in the world,” Yi Ho-Joong, head of KEB Hana Bank’s anti-counterfeit centre told AFP.

North Korea made near perfect $100 bills — dubbed “supernotes” by US officials — for decades as part of a highly sophisticated counterfeiting program. The US believes that, at times, North Korea had earned up to $25 million per year from counterfeit notes.

“You need facilities worth some $100 million to produce counterfeit bills of this quality and no crime rings would invest that much to make fake dollars,” Yi added.

While no evidence directly links the note to North Korea, AFP reported there are suspicions North Korea has resumed its forgeries.

“There would have always been sufficient disrespect for the US financial system there to create counterfeits, which is the main reason why South Korean banks are suspecting the origin of the notes to be North Korea,” Roald Maliangkay, director of the Korea Institute at Australian National University, told Business Insider.  [Business Insider]

You can read more at the link, but last year a North Korean agent was arrested in China trying to pass off $5 million in counterfeit US currency.  It appears that the North Koreans have expanded their operations of passing off counterfeit currency into South Korea.