A North Korean official of the Korea Daesong Bank, identified by JoohnAng Ilbo newspaper as Yun Tae Hyong, left the country with $5 million and is in Russia, seeking asylum in a third nation.
Yun is said to be the banker of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has sought the help of its ally, Russia, for the arrest of the absconding banker. However, beyond the money that Yun allegedly took, he probably would not have extensive information about the North Korean government and how it functions, explained Koh Yu-hwan from the Dongguk University and a North Korea leadership expert. He said Yun's knowledge is likely limited to his work and commitments.
The bank focuses on foreign exchange transactions since it was established in 1978 to handle payments by North Korean companies for their foreign trade transactions. In 2010, the Daesong Bank was blacklisted by US Treasury over suspicions that it operates under the control of North Korean Office 39. It is suspected of purchasing luxury goods, covered by UN sanctions on North Korea.
In December 2013, Jang Song -thaek, the uncle of Kim, was removed from Office 39.