North Korean in Malaysia loses appeal against US extradition

Kang Son Bi (R), wife of Mun Chol Myong, a North Korean man who faces possible extradition from Malaysia to the US on money laundering charges, arrives at the Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur on October 8, 2020 after Mun launched a legal challenge against the US bid.
  • Agence France-Presse
  • October 8, 2020 7:09 AM

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | A North Korean man accused of laundering money lost a legal bid to halt his extradition from Malaysia to the US to face charges Thursday, but will lodge a final appeal.

Mun Chol Myong, who has lived in the Southeast Asian country for a decade with his family, was arrested last year following the extradition request from Washington.

He denies FBI claims that he led a criminal group that violated sanctions by supplying prohibited items to North Korea and laundered funds through front companies, according to his lawyers. 

A Malaysian court in December approved his extradition but Mun challenged the move at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

His lawyers argued his detention was unlawful, as the allegations against him were of a political nature. 

But a judge rejected the argument, saying procedures were correctly followed and Mun failed to prove the extradition bid was "politically-charged".

There was not "sufficient evidence to support this challenge against the backdrop of the money laundering-related indictments," judge Ahmad Shahrir Mohamad Salleh said. 

His lawyer said he would lodge a final appeal at Malaysia's top court.

Mun, in his 50s, was not in court for the ruling but his wife and North Korean officials were present. 

He is accused of four charges of money-laundering and two of conspiracy to launder money, and the allegations relate mainly to his work in neighbouring Singapore, according to his lawyers.

It is not clear what he is accused of supplying, but there have been cases of businesses in the city-state sending luxury items, such as liquor and watches, to the North. 

The export to North Korea of some luxury goods has been banned as part of sweeping sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by the United Nations and countries including the United States over its weapons programmes.

© Agence France-Presse

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