US authorities arrest former Marine for involvement in mysterious raid of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain
U.S. authorities have made the primary arrest associated to the mysterious raid of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain through which masked assailants tied up employees, stole computer systems and fled to the USA, in line with two folks aware of the matter.
On Thursday, federal authorities arrested Christopher Ahn, a former U.S. Marine and a member of Free Joseon, a bunch devoted to the overthrow of North Korea’s Kim Dynasty. He’s anticipated to look in a federal district courtroom in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon.
Individually, federal brokers raided the condominium of Adrian Hong, the chief of Free Joseon, mentioned folks aware of the incident, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate a delicate regulation enforcement difficulty.
A spokesman with the FBI deferred questions on the case to the Justice Division.
“We is not going to touch upon this specific matter at the moment,” mentioned Nicole Navas Oxman, a spokeswoman with the Justice Division.
The developments mark a dramatic flip of destiny for the revolutionary group, which sought to help U.S. authorities by handing over computer systems and different gadgets stolen from the North Korean embassy that it characterised as doubtlessly having “huge” intelligence worth.
In a press release to The Washington Put up, Hong’s lawyer, Lee Wolosky, mentioned he was “dismayed that the U.S. Division of Justice has determined to execute warrants towards U.S. individuals that derive from legal complaints filed by the North Korean regime.”
“The final US citizen who fell into the custody of the Kim regime returned house maimed from torture and didn’t survive,” he mentioned, referring to Otto Warmbier, a U.S. school pupil who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 and died shortly after being flown again to the USA in a coma in 2017.
“We now have obtained no assurances from the US authorities concerning the security and safety of the US nationals it’s now focusing on,” mentioned Wolosky.
The Justice Division spokeswoman famous that “extradition treaties typically present that a person who has been extradited to a different nation to face legal prices can not thereafter be extradited to a 3rd nation with out the consent of the unique nation.”
The group asserted duty for the raid final month after a choose in Spain lifted a secrecy order within the case and accused Hong and two different males of taking part within the incident as part of a 10-member group.
The brazen daylight raid in February got here simply 5 days earlier than President Donald Trump met with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, and raised questions on whether or not it was the work of presidency intelligence providers.
The choose, Jose de la Mata, mentioned proof of varied crimes had been discovered, together with trespassing, threats, unlawful detentions and housebreaking dedicated by a “legal group.” The choose mentioned one of many males later shared materials stolen from the embassy with the FBI.
The March assertion by Free Joseon, also called the Cheollima Civil Protection group, pushed again towards Spanish media reviews that the group beat and gagged embassy employees.
“All occupants within the embassy have been handled with dignity and mandatory warning,” the group wrote. It additionally claimed that “no different governments” have been conscious of the raid till after it occurred. Preliminary media reviews in Spain alleged that the CIA was concerned.
State Division spokesman Robert Palladino mentioned Tuesday that the U.S. authorities “had nothing to do with” the incident.
The group’s description of occasions couldn’t be independently confirmed, however it mentioned it had proof “verifying our account.”
In response to Spanish media reviews, the assailants tied up the embassy employees with rope, put hoods over their heads and requested them questions.
Greater than an hour into the raid, a lady reportedly escaped, and her screams for assist alerted a neighbor, who contacted police. When authorities arrived on the embassy, a person opened the door and instructed them there was no drawback. Moments later, the embassy gates opened, and the assailants dashed out to 2 embassy vehicles and sped away, in line with native reviews. The autos have been discovered deserted on a close-by avenue.
The involvement of Free Joseon within the raid was first reported by The Washington Put up in March.
The Washington Put up’s Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.