03/18/2010, 00.00
KOREA
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Kim Jong-il sentences official to death for failed currency reform

Pak Nam-gi, a 77-year-old technocrat, was charged with “deliberately ruining the national economy”. Sacked in January, he was executed last week. He served as scapegoat for the failed currency reform promoted by Kim Jong-il.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea executed a former top finance official last week, holding him responsible for the country's currency reform fiasco that has caused massive inflation, worsened food shortages and dented leader Kim Jong-il's efforts to transfer power to his third son Kim Jong-un.

Pak Nam-gi, who was reportedly sacked in January as chief of the planning and finance department of the ruling Workers' Party, was executed last week for the damages caused by currency reform to an already impoverished North Korean populace

The 77-year-old technocrat (pictured in the middle), who was a graduate of engineering schools in the former Soviet Union and one of its satellite states, disappeared from North Korea's official media reports in January. He was charged with “deliberately ruining the national economy” as a “son of a big landowner,” said an anonymous source cited by South Korean news agency Yonhpa News.

In reality, Kim Jong-il personally promoted the currency reform and Pak Nam-gi served only as a scapegoat in order to limit the impact of its failure, the source said, especially since it led to social unrest in an already dissatisfied population.

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