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Mun Chol Myong, the primary North Korean citizen ever extradited to the US, is charged with cash laundering

Kim Yu Song, advisor to the North Korean embassy in Malaysia, reads a statement to the media in front of the North Korean embassy. North Korea is breaking diplomatic relations with Malaysia in protest after a court ruled that a North Korean citizen named Mun Chol Myong should be extradited to the United States for money laundering charges. The Malaysian government said it would order all diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours.

Wong Fok Loy | LightRocket | Getty Images

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Mun has been detained in Malaysia since his arrest by local authorities in May 2019, less than two weeks after being charged in Washington on six money laundering cases, including the money laundering conspiracy.

North Korea said last Friday it cut diplomatic ties with Malaysia over Mun’s extradition, which was approved by a Malaysian court last week.

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Mun was in FBI custody in Washington.

Kang Son Bi (L) wife of Mun Chol Myong, the North Korean man who may be extradited from Malaysia to the US for money laundering, arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on December 6, 2019.

Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty Images

“One of the FBI’s main counterintelligence challenges is bringing overseas defendants to justice, particularly the North Korean case,” FBI assistant director Alan Kohler Jr. of the bureau’s counterintelligence division said in a statement.

“Thanks to the FBI’s partnership with overseas agencies, we are proud to bring Mun Chol Myong to the US for trial and we hope he will be the first of many,” Kohler said.

The indictment accuses Mun and co-conspirators of using a network of front-line firms, registering bank accounts under false names, and removing references to North Korea from international transfers and receipts.

In doing so, they enticed American banks to process transactions in favor of North Korean companies that they would otherwise not have been able to process.

“We are delighted that Mun has been extradited and will be on trial for the crimes alleged in the indictment,” said Channing Phillips, acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, in a statement.

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