FBI Holds Korean American for Spying on N.Korea

Choson Ilbo (hat tip One Free Korea)
A Korean American businessman has been arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of hiding his activities as a spy for the South Korean government, AP reported Thursday. According to court documents obtained by the wire agency, Park Il-woo, also known as Steve Park, was a legal resident in the U.S. for the past 20 years and conducted business with North Korea. Park provided information he obtained from his frequent trips to North Korea to the South Korean government in return for payments.

U.S. law requires anyone acting as an agent of a foreign government to register with the U.S. government and disclose the nature of the activity. The FBI met with Park three times to ask about his activities between 2005 and 2007. But each time, Park denied his contacts with or knowledge of certain South Korean officials. Park was expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

PR Newswire


Contact: Yusill Scribner of the Office of United States Attorney Michael J. Garcia, Southern District of New York, +1-212-637-2600

NEW YORK, July 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Park Il Woo, a/k/a “Steve Park,” was arrested today on charges that he repeatedly lied to FBI agents about his activities in the United States on behalf of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), from 2005 to the present, announced Michael J. Garcia, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Agents also executed a search warrant at Park’s Manhattan residence simultaneous to the arrest. According to the complaint and search warrant affidavit, incorporated by reference in the complaint:

Park, 58, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, engaged in conduct in the United States on behalf of the South Korea by, among other things, obtaining information from officials of another foreign government and providing that information to South Korean officials in exchange for payment.

For example, during a recorded telephone call, Park relayed to a South Korean official working in Manhattan that officials of the other foreign government had asked Park to help them obtain certain items, including insecticides and anesthetics. However, the complaint alleges, on three occasions in 2005 and 2007, Park gave false information to FBI agents regarding his contacts with or knowledge of certain South Korean officials.

For example, on March 20, 2007, FBI agents showed Park photographs of certain South Korean officials working in Manhattan, and Park stated that he did not know two of the officials. Park then drove directly from that FBI interview to a restaurant in New Jersey, where he met with one of the South Korean officials he claimed not to know.

Park is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan federal court. Mr. Garcia praised the efforts of the FBI for their efforts in this continuing investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer G. Rodgers and Stephen A. Miller are handling the prosecution.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint and documents incorporated by reference are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice


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