Malaysian court approves US bid to extradite North Korean

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – A Malaysian court on Friday approved the extradition of a North Korean man to the United States (US) to face money laundering charges in a case he says is politically motivated.

Defence lawyer Jagjit Singh said Mun Chol Myong, 54, was shocked by the ruling and will appeal to the High Court.

Mun has lived in Malaysia for a decade and was arrested in May after US authorities requested his extradition. Malaysia’s government approved it but Mun filed a legal challenge. Singh has said his extradition would likely be the first of a North Korean to the US for money laundering.

In his affidavit, Mun rejected allegations by the FBI that he was the “leader of an international organised criminal group involved in laundering proceeds of bank fraud” from April 2013 to November 2018.

Mun denied he laundered funds through front companies and issued fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to his country in violation of United Nations (UN) sanctions. He said he was the victim of a “politically motivated” extradition request aimed at pressuring North Korea over its missile programme.

The Sessions Court didn’t give reasons for its ruling, with the judge merely saying she was satisfied with the prosecutor’s arguments. Prosecutors had told the court that the extradition bid was not political in nature and purely for money laundering.

North Korean Embassy officials and his wife were also in court.

Singh, who is hired by the North Korean Embassy to defend Mun, said the appeal could take two to three months and that the High Court’s decision will be final.