German authorities close hostel on N.Korea embassy grounds

Authorities in the German capital Berlinconfirmed the closure of a hostel located on the grounds of the North Korean embassy that had been accused of providing a cash flow to the regime in Pyongyang.

“The business has signed out,” a statement from the mayoral authorities in the district of Mitte, in central Berlin, said on Friday.

Efforts to close the City Hostel Berlin began in 2017 when the European Union banned any establishment suspected of generating money — whether directly or indirectly — for the North Korean regime’s nuclear ambitions in line with UN sanctions, reports Efe news.

Berlin judges had already ordered the removal of the license from the hostel but the move was appealed.

A court dismissed the appeal in January but a series of judicial hurdles delayed proceedings.

The process affected relations between Berlin-Mitte authorities and the German foreign affairs ministry, which heaped on the pressure for a rapid solution to the issue in order to meet UN requirements.

The hostel once formed part of North Korea’s embassy in communist East Germany during the Cold War.

The building used to host delegates visiting the German Democratic Republic, which formed in 1949 and ended in 1990 with the fall of the Berlin Wall that once divided the city.

It attracted crowds of backpackers, given its proximity to some of the German capital’s main tourist sites, commercial areas, museums and places of interest, including Checkpoint Charlie, as well as its cheap prices for an overnight stay.

The hostel itself opened in 2007 under the management of City Hostel.

It had faced accusations that it was being used to fund Kim Jong-un’s regime in North Korea.

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