SEOUL, The North Korean regime spends about 600 billion won (US$520 million) a year on purchases of luxury goods, the head of South Korea's state spy agency told lawmakers Wednesday.

Suh Hoon, director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIS), said the items include automobiles, fur and liquor, according to Rep. Lee Eun-jae of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

Suh was speaking at a closed-door annual parliamentary audit of his agency's affairs.

He was asked if a report is correct that the communist nation is using 5 trillion won of its total annual budget of some 7 trillion won for such luxury products.

Suh responded, "Not all. Around 600 billion won is used for what we call luxury goods."

Source: Yonhap News Agency