North Korean in Malaysia challenges US extradition bid

North Korean citizen Mun Chol Myong is appealing against a Malaysian court’s decision to extradite him to the US. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A North Korean man today launched a legal challenge against a US bid to extradite him from Malaysia over allegations he supplied goods to his country in breach of sanctions.

Mun Chol Myong, who has lived in the country with his family for a decade, was arrested last year following an extradition request from Washington.

He denies the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s claims that he led a criminal group that violated sanctions by supplying luxury goods to North Korea and laundered funds through front companies.

The Sessions Court here last December approved his extradition to the US, but Mun today appealed against the decision at the High Court.

His lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, argued that Mun was innocent and the allegations against him were of a “political character”.

The court will rule on the appeal on Oct 8.

Mun, in his 50s, is accused of four charges of money laundering and two of conspiracy to launder money, mainly in relation to his work for a firm in Singapore.

It is not clear what he is accused of supplying, but there have been a string of cases involving businessmen in Singapore in recent years who have sent items to North Korea ranging from liquor to jewellery.

Mun’s defence team has previously claimed he was involved only in the supply of palm oil and soybean oil to North Korea.

The export to North Korea of some goods, including luxury items, has been banned as part of sweeping sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by the United Nations and countries, including the US, over its weapons programmes.