Two luxury yachts, which were about to be shipped to China for the eventual use of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, have been impounded by Italian police in Viareggio.

The yachts are valued at €13m, Ibinews (International Boat Industry) reports.

Italy’s financial police, along with help from Austrian authorities, traced the yachts under a sting called Operation Flybridge.

Under an international trade embargo, luxury goods are prohibited from being imported into North Korea.

Libero-News reported that an Austrian businessman paid cash to build the yachts, and that the title for them was later transferred to a Chinese company.

The Italian police became suspicious and traced the bank accounts back to Kim.

The yachts will be put up for auction, while the money that has been paid for them has been frozen. The newspaper did not say which shipyard was involved.

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