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How A Fake Eyelash Boom Is Propping Up Kim Jong-Un…Really??

Russia and China may be the first to come to mind in reference to violating sanctions against North Korea, but the list is actually a bit longer, and fairly more complicated – and the end of the day, our out-of-control vanity has led to a boom in fake eyelashes that have been helping to prop up the North Korean government.

In late January, California-based cosmetics company ELF agreed to pay a nearly US$1m fine to settle civil liabilities for importing fake eyelashes containing materials from North Korea in breach of sanctions.

The U.S. Treasury Department said that between 2012 and 2017, the company imported 156 shipments of false eyelash kits, valued at $4.43 million from two suppliers located in the People’s Republic of China that contained materials sourced by North Korean suppliers.

ELF (eyes, lips, face), with annual revenues of $295 million, faced more than $40 million in penalties, but the treasury took mitigating circumstances into account; namely, the small amount involved and the fact that the company itself reported the sanctions violation after a self-audit of third-party suppliers.

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