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North Korean leaders used fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports

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North Korean leaders used fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il used fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports to apply for visas to visit Western countries in the 1990s, five senior Western European security sources have told Reuters.

While North Korea's ruling family is known to have used travel documents obtained under false pretences, there are few specific examples. The photocopies of the Brazilian passports seen by Reuters have not been published before.

The North Korean embassy in Brazil declined to comment and Brazil's foreign ministry said it was investigating.

A Brazilian source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two passports in question were legitimate documents when sent out as blanks for consulates to issue.

Four other senior Western European security sources confirmed that the two Brazilian passports with photos of the Kims in the names of Josef Pwag and Ijong Tchoi were used to apply for visas in at least two Western countries.

The passports may also have been used to travel to Brazil, Japan and Hong Kong, the security sources s aid.

Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported in 2011 that Jong Un visited Tokyo as a child using a Brazilian passport in 1991 - before the issue date on the two Brazilian passports.

Reuters has only seen photocopies of the passports so was unable to discern if they had been tampered with.