People watch a TV screen broadcasting a news report on the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the older half brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Lim Se-young / News1 via Reuters

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported on Monday that Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was carrying US$120,000 in cash when he was killed at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport in February.

Malaysian investigative authorities reportedly told Asahi that Jong-nam’s meetings with “an American male believed to have links with a US intelligence agency may have been behind North Korea’s decision to silence him.”

The Malaysian officials say Kim apparently acquired the sum during his stay and was planning to leave the country without declaring it as they found no record of him making a large cash withdrawal from a Malaysian bank.