N Korea man fails in bid to halt US extradition from Malaysia


PTI, Mar 9, 2021, 6:15 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s top court ruled on Tuesday that a North Korean man can be extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges, rejecting his assertion that the US charge was politically motivated.

The Federal Court refused to accept Mun Chol Myong’s arguments because it was not a trial, and agreed with a lower court that prosecutors had followed procedures, said defence lawyer Gooi Soon Seng.

Mun, who is in his 50s, has lived in Malaysia for a decade and was arrested in May 2019 after US authorities requested his extradition. Malaysia’s government approved the extradition, but Mun challenged the US bid.

In his affidavit, Mun denied US accusations that he was involved in supplying prohibited luxury goods from Singapore to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions while working in the city-state before moving to Malaysia in 2008.

Mun denied that he laundered funds through front companies and that he issued fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to his country.

He said in his affidavit that he was the victim of a “politically motivated” extradition request aimed at pressuring North Korea over its missile program.

Gooi said Mun’s family was upset with the ruling and worried that he would not be given a fair trial in the US.

He said the US didn’t seek to extradite three Singaporeans who worked in the same company with Mun and were also charged in the US with money laundering.

The Singaporeans were also charged in the city-state for breaching UN trade sanctions on North Korea and were fined.

“That’s why we are saying the offence is of a political nature,” Gooi said. “He is a pawn caught in the rivalry between the US and North Korea.”

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