Kim's murdered half-brother 'was a CIA informant'

World | REUTERS 12 Jun 2019

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the US Central Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Journal cited an unnamed "person knowledgeable about the matter" for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam's relationship with the CIA remained unclear.

The Journal quoted the person as saying "there was a nexus" between the CIA and Kim.

"Several former US officials said the half-brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country's inner workings," the Journal said. The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China's.

Kim Jong Nam's role as a CIA informant is mentioned in a new book about Kim Jong Un, The Great Successor, by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield.

Fifield says Kim Jong Nam usually met his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia.

The book says that security camera footage from his last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with a man who was reported to be a US intelligence agent. It said Kim's backpack contained US$120,000 (HK$936,000) in cash, which could have been payment for intelligence-related activities, or earnings from his casino businesses.

South Korean and US officials have said the North Korean authorities had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule.

Two women were charged with poisoning him at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Malaysia released them this year.

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