For the first time in history, a North Korean businessman is set to be extradited to the United States to face several charges of money laundering and supplying prohibited luxury goods to North Korea. This is a major development not only in sanctions enforcement against illicit North Korean activity abroad, but also in Malaysia’s contribution to the integrity of the global financial system and countering its global reputation as a hotspot for sanctions evasions. While this single extradition may not hamper North Korea’s overall illicit financial operations in Southeast Asia, responsible nations can leverage Malaysia’s decision when engaging in diplomatic dialogue with other ASEAN member states on issues pertaining to international law and North Korea.
Southeast Asia will most likely continue to grapple with North Korean sanctions evasions and financial crime, but now the region has a new precedent to build upon.
Prior to his arrest in 2019 and now pending extradition, Mun Chol Myong lived in Malaysia with his family for a decade. From there, the FBI claims he laundered funds through front companies and facilitated shipments of prohibited luxury goods from Singapore on behalf of the North Korean regime, violating both U.N. and U.S. sanctions. In his affidavit, Mun denied all allegations and described himself as a victim of a “politically motivated” extradition, unfairly caught between diplomatic crosshairs aimed at pressuring North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.
Read the full article from The Diplomat.
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