A North Korean businessman in his 50s has been arrested in Malaysia on charges of money laundering involving luxury goods, and faces possible extradition to the US, according to news reports.
The man named Mun Chol-myong who has lived in Malaysia for about 10 years and has had business dealings in China was detained by Malaysian authorities on May 14 and was denied bail by a local magistrate Monday, Malaysian government news agency Bernama said.
Washington requested Kuala Lumpur to extradite Mun to the US to face alleged money laundering charges, and the Malaysian magistrate denied bail pending hearing of the extradition proceedings on July 4, saying there was a high chance he would abscond, according to Bernama.
Mun was arrested under the Extradition Act and a mutual legal assistance agreement between Malaysia and the US, a source in the Malaysian intelligence told online news service BenarNews, adding that his charges were related to money laundering and a violation of the UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea.
“The FBI made the request to the attorney general so we went and made a provisional arrest,” the source was quoted as saying by BenarNews, which is affiliated with US broadcaster Radio Free Asia.
“The North Korean citizen has the right to challenge his extradition in court but normally judges would rule in favor of the country that is making the extradition request.”
As of Tuesday, the FBI and the US Department of Justice declined to respond to a BenarNews request for confirmation that the US was trying to extradite Mun.
Mun’s lawyer told BenarNews that he expected his client to be extradited to the US.
Mun and his family stayed in an apartment in a suburban area southwest of Kuala Lumpur, and his wife held a MM2H visa which is granted to foreigners who fulfill certain criteria to live in Malaysia along with a spouse, unmarried children and parents.
Mun was remanded to a 60-day custody which expires on July 14, according to Bernama.
In court on Monday, Mun’s lawyer asked for bail, citing his poor health, his cancer-stricken wife and two daughters.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)