NZ aircraft maker pleads guilty to breaching U.N. sanctions on North Korea

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand aircraft manufacturer Pacific Aerospace Ltd has plead guilty in a New Zealand court to indirectly exporting aircraft parts to North Korea, according to Fairfax Media.

New Zealand Customs charged the Hamilton-based manufacturer earlier this year with unlawfully sending aircraft parts to North Korea, in breach of 2006 United Nations sanctions.

Pacific Aerospace and NZ Customs did not immediately respond to request for comment.

A U.N. Security Council report in February said it had investigated a 10-seater aircraft manufactured by Pacific Aerospace that had been flown at North Korea’s Wonsan Air Festival in September 2016.

The New Zealand firm had delivered the plane to its joint venture partner in China and it later been sold to another Chinese firm before ending up in North Korea in December 2015.

The U.N. report included emails from Pacific Aerospace to China firm indicating it was aware one of its planes was in North Korea and offering to provide training and “necessary tools” to replace some parts.

New Zealand’s Manukau District Court will sentence Pacific Aerospace in January, Fairfax reported.

NZ Customs said in August the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment for an individual and a fine of up to NZ$100,000 ($71,000) for a company.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted nine sanctions resolutions on North Korea since 2006 in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile testing programs.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield