South Korean Man Accused of Spying for His Country in the U.S., Lying About Activities

A South Korean accused of spying on North Korea for his government during the last two years has been charged with repeatedly lying about his activities in the United States, federal authorities said Thursday.

Park Il Woo, also known as Steve Park, was arrested Wednesday and charged in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with lying to the FBI about his role as a South Korean agent. He was expected to appear in court later Thursday.

U.S. law requires anyone acting as an agent of a foreign government to register with the attorney general and disclose the nature of the activity. An FBI agent said in court papers that Park, 58, had not registered.

Park was accused of obtaining information from the North Korean government and providing it to South Korea in return for unspecified payments, according to the court papers.

Park is a South Korean citizen who has lived as a legal resident in the United States for the past 20 years. According to court papers, he met with the FBI three times between 2005 and 2007 and each time lied about his contacts with or knowledge of certain South Korean officials.

After one meeting, Park immediately drove to a restaurant in New Jersey where he met with one of the South Korean officials he had claimed not to know, the papers said.

In an affidavit in support of a search warrant, FBI Agent William Smith wrote that Park in April 2005 told a South Korean official that North Korean officials had asked him to bring them certain items, including insecticides, anesthetics and veterinary products, on an upcoming trip to North Korea. The agent did not elaborate on the purpose of the items.

It was not clear who would represent Park in court.