Photo/IllutrationNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the venue for talks in Pyongyang with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Oct. 6, 2018. The “R” logo can be seen on the wheel of the vehicle behind him. (Photo taken by U.S. State Department)

NEW YORK--North Korean leader Kim Jong Un clearly likes to be driven around in style, even if it means brazenly thumbing his nose at U.N. sanctions.

A U.N. panel monitoring whether sanctions against North Korea are working concluded that Kim is in clear violation of the measures by having a luxury Rolls-Royce at his disposal.

The U.N. Security Council slapped a ban on exports of luxury goods to North Korea to put pressure on Pyongyang to curtail its missile and nuclear programs.

According to the expert panel’s latest report, when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang last October for talks with Kim, the chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea arrived at the venue in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. The vehicle was a Phantom, the brand's flagship and a model used by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for her official duties. It carries a starting price of about 350,000 pounds ($462,500).

When the panel queried the manufacturer, it was learned that the vehicle was made at a factory in Goodwood, England, between August 2012 and February 2017.

The panel is also investigating the purchase of another Rolls-Royce luxury Ghost sedan seized by Bangladeshi customs in January 2017 en route to North Korea by ship. North Korean diplomats are suspected of have made a false declaration about the shipment.

The panel pointed out that North Korean diplomats are playing key roles in skirting the sanctions.

The U.N. experts also made inquiries to the Chinese and Singaporean governments about the vehicle identification numbers of several Mercedes-Benz cars used during Kim’s visits to those two countries. The Singaporean government requested the chassis and engine numbers from North Korea, but authorities there refused to divulge the information on grounds of national security, the report said.

Last year, the Netherlands intercepted a consignment of Belarusian vodka suspected of being bound for North Korea after customs officials deemed the shipment fell under the category of luxury goods. According to the manifest, the consignee of the vodka was a Chinese company also suspected of being involved in the transportation of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Vodka is classified as a luxury item in the European Union.

Furthermore, several Lexus LX-570s, large top-of-the-range SUV vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp., were used when South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited Pyongyang last September.

The panel said that this, too, was in clear violation of U.N. sanctions. The SUVs were manufactured between January 2012 and July 2015, and possibly distributed informally through personal trading.

The Security Council slapped the ban on exports of luxury goods to North Korea in a resolution calling for sanctions adopted after the country’s first nuclear test in 2006. A 2013 resolution gave examples of luxury items that included high-end automobiles.