PETALING JAYA - Kim Jong-nam is believed to have had US$120,000 (S$166,092) in his possession when he was assassinated, a fact which may be linked to a mysterious meet-up with an unidentified man days before he was murdered, Asahi Shimbun reported.
Quoting Malaysian investigation officials, the Japanese daily said on Sunday that the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, may have been paid for information.
It also added that there was no record of Jong-nam making bank withdrawals of that amount in Malaysia.
Asahi reported that police discovered four bundles of cash, each containing 300 US$100 bills, in a black bag.
It added that Jong-nam met up with the unknown US citizen in Langkawi, days before his murder.
The man, described as a "middle-aged Korean-American based in Bangkok", was believed to have links to a US intelligence agency and had met up with Jong-nam a few times before.
The report said that Jong-nam and the American met in a hotel in Langkawi on Feb 9.
According to the news agency, a USB memory stick had been inserted into Jong-nam's laptop, which fuelled speculation that a large volume of information may have been transferred out.
Jong-nam, 45, was killed by two women who splashed his face with VX nerge agent at the KL International Airport 2 departure hall at about 9am on Feb 13 as he was about to leave for Macau.
He had arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 6 from Macau where he was living with his family in exile.