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Otto Warmbier's family receives over $240,000 in seized assets from North Korea

By Megan Hadley
Otto Warmbier's family receives over $240,000 in seized assets from North Korea
Cindy Warmbier and Fred Warmbier received $240 in seized assets from North Korea after the 2017 death of their son, Otto. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Otto Warmbier's family received over $240,000 in seized North Korean assets over the death of their son in 2017.

Warmbier was 21 years old when he traveled to Pyongyang in 2015 as part of a study abroad program. He was later arrested at the airport for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster in a hotel, which was considered a "hostile act against the state" by North Korea.

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He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor, and shortly after, fell into a coma, and later died after returning to the United States.

Otto's parents sued North Korea over their sons death, and in 2018, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that North Korea was liable for $501 million in damages.

North Korea ignored the order.

Then, last week, the Northern District Court of New York approved the seizure of funds from Korea Kwangson Banking Corp. in a motion after the country and bank failed to respond to court orders.

The judge ordered the final transfer of the funds to the family within 10 days, ending part of a long legal battle from Otto's parents, Cindy and Fred Warmbier.

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Otto's parents initially asked for over $1 billion in damages.

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