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FBI was offered stolen data from North Korea embassy raid

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Spain: FBI was offered stolen data from North Korea embassy raid

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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MADRID, Spain (AP) — Spain has issued two international arrest warrants for members of a self-proclaimed human rights group that allegedly led a mysterious attack on the North Korean Embassy in February before offering data stolen during the raid to the FBI.

National Court judge Jose de la Mata yesterday lifted a secrecy order in the case, announcing it had found evidence of various crimes, including trespassing, injuries, threats and burglary committed by “a criminal organisation” at the embassy in a leafy northern Madrid neighbourhood. He identified a Mexican, an American and a South Korean as main suspects in the case.

The judge named Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican national and resident in the United States, as the leader of a gang of 10 people who escaped on February 22 after stealing computers and documents from the embassy, where they shackled and gagged its staff.

De la Mata said the assailants identified themselves as “members of an association or movement of human rights for the liberation of North Korea” and that they urged So Yun Sok, the embassy’s business envoy and only diplomat, to defect. He refused to do so and was also gagged.

That group is the Cheollima Civil Defence, according to a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the incident. The shadowy activists have the self-declared mission of helping defectors of the North Korean regime.

The court document said Hong Chang flew to the US on February 23, where he got in touch with the FBI and offered to share material and videos with federal investigators. The Spanish investigation didn’t say what the content of the material was, or whether the FBI accepted it.

The document added that most suspects were believed to be outside of Spain.

The FBI said in a statement that its standard practice is not to confirm for deny the existence of investigations but added that “the FBI enjoys a strong working relationship with our Spanish law enforcement partners”.

A police spokesman who wasn’t authorised to be named in media reports confirmed to The Associated Press that arrest warrants had been issued against Hong Chang and one other suspect.

No formal charges have yet been brought into the attack.

the North Korean diplomat, didn’t respond to written questions from The Associated Press and declined to talk to reporters during a recent encounter outside his embassy in northwestern Madrid.

Others identified as part of the assailants’ group were Sam Ryu, from the US, and Woo Ran Lee, a South Korean citizen. Their whereabouts and their hometowns weren’t immediately known.

The South Korean Embassy in Madrid said it had no knowledge of the events and couldn’t offer further comment.

The assailants purchased knives and handgun mock-ups when they visited Madrid in early February, according to the investigation.

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