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NZ link to plane seized with North Korea weapons

A New Zealand company has been linked to a cargo plane seized in Thailand suspected of smuggling North Korea arms this week, possibly to the Middle East.

Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted Georgian officials linking New Zealand registered company SP Trading to renting the plane – an Ilyushin-76 aircraft – to deliver its cargo.

The plane was seized at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport late last week during a refuelling stop. It was discovered that it contained 30 tonnes of weapons from North Korea, which is a violation of UN sanctions against Pyongyang.

SP Trading is registered through GT Group, based on Auckland’s Queen St. GT Group appears to be a Vanuatu-based company, listed on its website as “providing an extensive range of offshore company services for privacy, legal tax avoidance, asset protection, financial independence and freedom.”

GT Group’s New Zealand phone number as listed on its website did not work this afternoon.

The listed owner of SP Trading is another GT Group- listed company called Vicam (Auckland), which has a Vanuatu address. The owner of Vicam is GT Group, according to Companies Office records.

AFP reported the plane was previously registered in Kazakhstan and the sold to a Georgian airline in October before being leased to the New Zealand company.

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