‘Room 39’ is a secretive organization from North Korea. Supposedly, the organization contains over a dozen bank accounts in China and Switzerland. Room 39 was established by Kim Il-Sung in the late 1970’s, but the origin of its name remains unknown.
Some experts believe that Room 38 was merged into Room 39. But in 2010, the two were split again because of issues with foreign currency. The organization is estimated to rake in between $500 million and $1 billion each year. Not surprisingly, it may be involved in illegal activities.
A 2007 report published by the Millennium Project of the World Federation of United Nations Associations said North Korea makes an estimated $500 million to $1 billion annually from criminal enterprise. In 2009, a Washington Post report outlined a global insurance fraud scheme by the North Korean government. The state-owned Korea National Insurance Corp sought reinsurance contracts with international reinsurers and then submitted fraudulent claims; the contracts were governed by North Korean law and legal challenges were fruitless.
Room 39 is also believed to be operating the overseas North Korean restaurant chain called Pyongyang.