WASHINGTON (AP) – A North Korean national was arrested on Saturday on charges of money laundering after being extradited from the United States to Malaysia, making him a North Korean citizen in the first North Korean court extradited to the United States.
According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, Moon Chol Myung was detained by the FBI in Washington on Saturday. His extradition came after a Malaysian court rejected a politically motivated charge.
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A federal judge in Washington decided to arrest Moon on May 2, 2019, on charges of money laundering and conspiracy. Moon, who is about 50 years old, lived in Malaysia for a decade and was arrested in May 2019 after the United States asked for his extradition. The Malaysian government approved the extradition, but Moon disputed the request.
His lawyer said Moon was concerned that he would not receive a fair trial in the United States. They say the extradition was “politically motivated” and aimed at increasing pressure on North Korea over its missile program.
Moon has denied allegations that he participated in the supply of banned luxury goods from Singapore to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions before moving to Malaysia in 2008.
North Korea has said it has cut off diplomatic ties with Malaysia over its decision to extradite Moon to the United States amid recent escalating hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang as the North intensifies pressure on the Biden administration over its nuclear program.
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.