North Korea’s Mun Chol Myong accused of laundering funds via US financial system, sentenced to 45 months in prison

Mun Chol Myong, 56, of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a businessman accused of laundering funds through the financial system of the United States. It was part of a scheme to raise capital and acquire goods for his home country in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Mun is the first ever national from North Korea to be extradited to the U.S. He was affiliated with his home country’s primary intelligence organization called the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), which is the subject of U.S. and United Nations sanctions. 


Between April 2013 and November 2018, Mun and others conspired to transmit funds through the U.S. for the purpose of promoting bank fraud. They allegedly used a network of front companies and falsified transaction records to conceal that the payments benefitted sanctioned North Korean entities, deceiving U.S. correspondent banks into executing correspondent banking transactions that they would otherwise have rejected.

While affiliated with the RGB, Mun was employed by Sinsar Trading, a trading company in Singapore. After being expelled by Singapore due to his violations of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2321, he relocated to Malaysia in September 2017.


On May 2, 2019, Mun was indicted in Washington, USA on six counts of money laundering. On May 14, 2019, he was arrested in Malaysia.

On March 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that Mun had been extradited to the U.S. from Malaysia. That day, he appeared in federal court in Washington.

Because of Mun’s extradition, North Korea announced that it cut diplomatic ties with Malaysia. By pleading guilty to four counts of money laundering and one count of money laundering conspiracy, he avoided a trial but did not admit to the facts and conduct alleged in his indictment. 

On January 20, 2023, Mun was sentenced to time served of 45 months in prison. The sentence was announced by U.S. attorney Matthew M. Graves and Alvin M. Winston, Sr., the special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s field office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

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