Judge approves extradition of South Korean man

A federal judge has approved the extradition of a South Korean man wanted in his home country for an alleged investment fraud that authorities say netted at least $20 million (Ђ16.64 million).

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams said there was sufficient evidence to extradite Kyung Joon Kim. It was unclear when Kim, 39, might be extradited.

Attempts on Tuesday to reach Kim's attorney, John Gordon, were not immediately successful. There was no phone listing in the Los Angeles area for Gordon's office.

The alleged fraud occurred from 2001 to 2002 when Kim was working in South Korea as an investment manager, according to the charges filed against him.

Kim headed a firm called Optional Ventures Korea, from which he allegedly embezzled the equivalent of millions of dollars to create bogus companies in other countries that he used to shuffle stolen money and claim that international firms were investing in his company.

He was arrested in Los Angeles in May of 2004 at the request of the South Korean government and has been jailed since then pending extradition, AP reports.

A. A.

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