Manu Fernandez / AP
Update at 19:45. ET
A Spanish court says attackers who have invaded the North Korean Embassy in Madrid last month have fled to the US.
According to new documents that were not sealed on Tuesday, the perpetrators included a US citizen and another resident. The leader of the conspiracy fled via Lisbon to Newark, New Jersey, and offered stolen material to the FBI in New York.
"We have no comment," said Martin Feely, spokesman for the FBI field office in New York, an email to NPR.
Also, the Spanish Embassy in Washington, DC, declined to comment. "There is a lawsuit," said a spokesman.
Late Tuesday, a website apparently linked to a secret North Korean dissident movement called "Free Joseon" published a statement alleging that the group had carried out an operation in the North Korean Embassy in Madrid. However, the group denied that it was an attack and rejected much of the Spanish court's bill.
The incident in Madrid occurred on February 22, just days before the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam. This summit ended in a stalemate after the US and North Korea failed to reach an agreement.
The Spanish judge in the recently unsealed case, Judge José de la Mata, says 10 people he calls a "criminal organization" – were involved in crimes, including fake documents, illegal detention and injuries alleged leaders of the group as A. Hong Chang, a Mexican citizen and US resident. (Some reports have referred to this person as Adrian Hong Chang.) The documents also say that one American and one South Korean citizen is suspected of burglary
In the days leading up to the attack, Hong Kong said, the court purchased tactical material and equipment in a store in Madrid, including five quick-action holsters, four combat knives and six replica handguns.
The afternoon of February 22nd The Hong Hong Declaration states that he is the business manager at the embassy before the R the group was admitted. After moving in, the group began "forcibly hitting employees until they could tie them up and blindfold them," the judge says.
A woman held in the embassy was able to escape from a first-floor window and was told to seek help. Neighbors heard them and called the police, who then knocked on the embassy door and tried to talk to them inside. Hong Chang allegedly opened the door with a North Korean pin and told the police that everything was alright.
According to De la Mata, three of the suspects identified themselves during the raid to an employee as members of a union or human rights movement for a free North Korea. "
After several hours, the characters started in three embassy cars carrying stolen drives, computers, hard drives, and cell phones, alleging that the ten suspected attackers were split into four groups and immediately fled to Portugal to To take flights to New York and New Jersey.
According to De la Mata, four days after his arrival in New York, Hong Chang contacted the FBI via Newark, allegedly offering to hand over stolen material to the embassy, saying that he had admitted
The online statement, apparently from the Free Joseon Group, argues that "this was not an attack."
We have on an urgent situation in the Madrid embassy reacted, we were invited to the embassy and contrary to the reports nobody was gagged or scolded . Out of respect for host country Spain No weapons were used .
The statement also states, "The organization provided the FBI in the United States with certain information of enormous potential value with mutually agreed confidentiality conditions. These conditions appear to have been broken. "
[19459031TheWashingtonPost reported on the possible involvement of Free Joseon on March 15.
A video released on the Free Joseon site and on YouTube on March 20 single photos of North Korea's former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and a caption "on the floor of our homeland" suggests that it could have taken place in the Madrid embassy, but the video is not sufficiently detailed, According to Aric Toler, an open-source analyst, to be connected to Bellingcat's online investigative group.
Spanish media previously reported that the group could be included in US intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment NPR Bruce Klingner, a former CIA officer who has dealt with North Korea, says he doubts that the CIA is so close to the Trump Kim summit
"If US involvement were discovered, this would jeopardize the summit, lead US-North Korean negotiations / diplomacy, and possibly trigger a strong North Korean reaction, including kinetic action," said Klingner, who is now in the US Heritage Foundation is in an email.
It seems unlikely that the latest revelations will come over the burglary Eric Brewer, a former National Security Council employee who has dealt with North Korean issues, is a significant influence on the ongoing negotiations between the US and North Korea and is now Staff of the Center for New American Security.
He points out that US economic sanctions against North Korea and the ongoing missile and nuclear programs of the North are far greater problems. "There are many problems that could predictably disturb diplomacy," he says. "But that's not part of it."