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North Korean National Makes First Court Appearance in Money Laundering Case

FILE PHOTO: U.S. one hundred dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration taken in Seoul, Feb. 7, 2011.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. one hundred dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration taken in Seoul, Feb. 7, 2011.

Mun Chol Myong, a North Korean national, made his first appearance Monday in federal court in the District of Columbia to face money laundering charges.

Mun, 55, was extradited to the U.S. from Malaysia after nearly two years of legal proceedings. He is the first person from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to be extradited to the U.S. The DPRK is North Korea’s official name.

According to the indictment and other court documents unsealed Monday, between April 2013 and November 2018, Mun is alleged to have defrauded U.S. banks and violated both U.S. and United Nations sanctions as part of his money laundering-related transactions valued at more than $1.5 million.

Mun was indicted May 2, 2019. He is accused of laundering money through the U.S. financial system as part of a scheme to import luxury items to North Korea. He faces six counts of money laundering, including conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mun, who is in his 50s, has denied the allegations. He lived in Malaysia for a decade and was arrested there May 14, 2019. North Korea broke off diplomatic ties with Malaysia over its decision to extradite Mun.

“We are pleased that Mun has been extradited and will stand trial for the offenses alleged in the indictment,” Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia said in a statement Monday.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will always be prepared to protect our nation’s financial system and pursue those who violate our laws, regardless of where they might hide,” Phillips added.

The indictment also alleges Mun was associated with North Korea’s primary intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is the subject of both U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

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