Back in 1974 one thousand Volvo 144s were sold to North Korea. 40 years has passed but the payment has never arrived. According to Newsweek this bizarre trade debt is actually North Korea’s largest.
If you search through recent tourist photos and Youtube videos, you can see that several of the Volvos are still driving around in North Korea today.
Every year since 1974 the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board calculates interest on North Koreas debt.
“We semi-annually advise when payments fall due,” Stefan Karlsson, the board’s head of risk advisory, tells Newsweek. “However, as is well known, North Korea does not fulfill their part of the agreement.”
According to Newsweek, if North Korea’s current leader Kim Jong-un was able to find and sell the 1000 Swedish cars, he would cash in around EUR 2 million. Which is only 0,6 percent of the total debt.