September 11, 2020

DOJ charges three individuals with conspiracy to violate North Korean sanctions and laundering funds

On September 11, 2020, the US Department of Justice announced that North Korean nationals Ri Jong Chol and Ri Yu Gyong, and Malaysian national Gan Ghee Lim, had been charged with conspiracy to violate North Korean Sanctions Regulations, conspiracy to launder funds, and bank fraud, for their participation in a scheme that established and utilized front companies to purchase goods on behalf of North Korean customers. 

According to court documents, Chol and his daughter Gyong lived and worked in Malaysia until Chol was expelled from that country in 2017 for his alleged role in facilitating the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.  While still in Malaysia between the years of 2015 and 2016, Chol and Gyong frequently worked with Gan, an employee of a Malaysia-based company that sold household products, to procure goods and facilitate trades with companies located in North Korea, by deceiving US banks into processing wired US dollar transactions using front companies to hide their connection to North Korea.  

Court documents reveal that Chol was also the Deputy Director of a company sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury; the three defendants discussed and traded articles on new sanctions against North Korea, but never sought to obtain required licenses from the US government before conducting business for the benefit of North Korean companies.

DOJ Press Release | DOJ Complaint | Affidavit in Support of DOJ Complaint