On January 20, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the sentencing of Mun Chol Myong (Mun), a national of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Mun was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to time served of 45 months’ imprisonment for multiple money laundering offenses. 

U.S. prosecutors accused the 55-year-old businessman of laundering funds through the U.S. financial system in a scheme to provide luxury goods for North Korean customers in violation of U.S. sanctions. According to the indictment against Mun, he and his co-conspirators used a network of front companies and falsified records to hide more than $1.2 million in illicit transactions. The allegations span over the course of five years from 2013 through 2015.  The indictment further alleged that Mun was affiliated with the DPRK’s primary intelligence organization, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is the subject of U.S. and U.N. sanctions. 

Mun pleaded guilty to all counts of the indictment, including one count of money laundering conspiracy, and four counts of money laundering, pursuant to an “Alford” plea. Under the Alford plea, Mun pleaded guilty and avoided a trial but did not admit to the facts and conduct alleged in the indictment. 

A resident of Malaysia, Mun was arrested by Malaysian authorities in 2019. Mun was extradited to the U.S. in early 2021 and is the first ever North Korean national to be extradited to the United States. Mun’s extradition prompted North Korea to sever diplomatic ties with Malaysia, while U.S. law enforcement officials praised Malaysia for the atypical move. The government also credits the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs along with the FBI’s Washington Field Office for providing substantial assistance and support in securing Mun’s arrest and extradition.

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