First North Korean national ever extradited to US for money laundering

A national of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been extradited by the Malaysian authorities ​to the United States to stand trial for money laundering through American banks. Diplomatic relations between the DPRK and Malaysia have already been severed.

Moon Choi Myung, 55, has become the first national from North Korea ever to be extradited to the US, according to the US Department of Justice.

Mun is accused of laundering money through the US financial system as part of a scheme to provide luxury items to North Korea from Singapore in violation of US and UN sanctions.

Investigators found that between 2013 and 2018 Mun laundered more than $ 1,5 million through the American banking system, using a web of front companies. Moreover, Mun and his accomplices removed references to the DPRK from international wire transfer and transactional documents.

US authorities noted that Myn is an employee of the North Korean special services.

– He is the first North Korean intelligence operative — and the second ever foreign intelligence operative — to have been extradited to the United States for violation of our laws, – said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Mun has been in custody in Malaysia since May 14, 2019. After nearly two years of legal proceedings, Mun appeared in trial in the US on March 22.

North Korean authorities said they severed diplomatic relations with Malaysia over the decision to extradite Mun to the US, noting that Mun was engaged in legitimate foreign trade activities.