It's old news now, but here are excerpts from a couple of January 2008 articles in the McClatchy newspapers. Reporters investigated the government's accusation that North Korea was responsible for the "supernote" counterfeits and concluded that the evidence is "uncertain at best." -EditorTwo years ago, as he was ratcheting up a campaign to isolate and cripple North Korea's dictatorship financially, President Bush accused the communist regime there of printing phony U.S. currency.
However, a 10-month McClatchy investigation on three continents has found that the evidence to support Bush's charges against North Korea is uncertain at best and that the claims of the North Korean defectors cited in news accounts are dubious and perhaps bogus. One key law enforcement agency, the Swiss federal criminal police, has publicly questioned whether North Korea is even capable of producing "supernotes," counterfeit $100 bills that are nearly perfect except for some practically invisible additions.
To read the complete article, see: U.S. counterfeiting charges against N. Korea based on shaky evidence
Here are excerpts from a related article. -EditorThe bills include the same optically variable ink, or OVI, that's used on the number 100 on the bottom right side of the bill. This ink is based on a highly specialized tint that's used on the space shuttle's windows and is highly regulated; the color used on U.S. currency is exclusively made for, and sold to, the United States. OVI ink gives the appearance of changing colors when a banknote is viewed from different angles.
And that's why many experts doubt that North Korea is making the supernotes.
The ink's maker, a Swiss firm named Sicpa, mixes the ink at a secure U.S. government facility. A Sicpa spokeswoman in the United States, Sarah Van Horn, declined to discuss the supernotes. But she offered an important fact.
"We ceased all OVI deliveries (to North Korea) in early 2001, and later in the year all security ink supplies," Van Horn said in an e-mail.
That means that Sicpa cut off North Korea from the high-tech inks well before the sting operations in 2005 that allegedly involved North Korean nationals supplying supernotes and well before the Bush administration publicly began accusing North Korea of making fake $100 bills.
To read the complete article, see: Fake $100 bills have features just like the real ones
Wayne Homren, Editor
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