North Korean taken into US custody in sanctions case

North Korean taken into US custody in sanctions case
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A North Korean man was taken into U.S. custody on Saturday after being extradited from Malaysia, The Associated Press reported, becoming the first North Korean to be extradited to the U.S. to face trial.

Mun Chol Myong is accused of laundering funds through front companies, creating fraudulent documents to reinforce illegal shipments and supplying prohibited luxury goods from Singapore to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions, the AP reported.

Mun has denied all allegations.


A federal judge in Washington issued a warrant for Mun’s arrest in May 2019, the AP noted. Mun was arrested in Malaysia that month.

The Malaysian government reportedly approved Mun’s extradition, but he challenged the proposal out of fear that he would not get a fair trial in the U.S. His lawyers argued that the extradition was “politically motivated” and was meant to increase pressure on North Korea because of its missile program, according to the AP.

On March 9, however, Malaysia’s top court rejected Mun’s claim that the charges were politically motivated, allowing the extradition to proceed, the AP reported.

As a result, North Korea on Friday announced that it had cut off diplomatic ties with Malaysia, citing the court’s decision.

This development is the latest in the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.


White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson delay prompts criticism of CDC panel | Pfizer CEO says third dose of COVID-19 vaccine 'likely' needed within one year | CDC finds less than 1 percent of fully vaccinated people got COVID-19 Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE said last week that officials had reached out to North Korea through “a number of channels,” but have not received any response.

She said that there has been no "active dialogue" with Pyongyang for more than a year despite "multiple attempts by the U.S. to engage,” adding that “diplomacy remains our, continues to remain our first priority.”

Following Psaki's remarks, Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnExclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee On North Korea, Biden should borrow from Trump's Singapore declaration North Korea drops out of Tokyo Olympics MORE who holds a high-ranking position in North Korea’s only political party, issued a statement warning the White House against “causing a stink with its first step.”

"We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land," she said, according to CNN, which cited North Korea's state news agency. "If it wants to sleep in peace for [the] coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step."