Singapore firms supplied North Korea’s top brass with luxury goods: UN report

Two companies incorporated in Singapore are accused of having violated United Nations (UN) sanctions against North Korea by supplying luxury goods, including wine and fine spirits, to the secluded regime, according to a BBC report based on a leaked draft of a respective UN dispatch.

The two firms – OCN and T Specialist – are sister companies and share the same director, the report said. They also share the same company address at Marine Parade neighbourhood. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched investigations into the companies and their businesses which allegedly supplied a range of luxury goods to North Korea’s top brass. Under UN sanctions, it has been illegal to sell luxury items to North Korea since 2006. Singapore’s laws have also banned the sale of these items to North Korea for several years.

The UN report claims that between 2011 and 2014 “transactions valued at more than $2 million” – allegedly proceeds from the sale of goods in North Korea – flowed from an account that OCN and T Specialist set up in a North Korean bank, Daedong Credit Bank, to T Specialist’s bank accounts in Singapore. Both companies are also accused by the UN of having “long-standing, close ties” with Ryugyong Commercial Bank, a North Korean bank the US put on its sanctions list in 2017

OCN’s headquarters in Singapore

However, the two companies denied any wrongdoing to the UN. T Specialist testified that the funds did not come from North Korea but from a company registered in Hong Kong, and were related to sales before the sanctions. A lawyer of the two firms said that they had given up any trade with North Korea, but that the “winding down takes a bit of time.”

Singapore authorities said that they were “working closely with the UN” on these cases.

“Where there is credible information of offenses committed by individuals or entities under Singapore law, the Singapore authorities will act expeditiously and undertake investigations,” a spokesperson of the foreign ministry said.

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Two companies incorporated in Singapore are accused of having violated United Nations (UN) sanctions against North Korea by supplying luxury goods, including wine and fine spirits, to the secluded regime, according to a BBC report based on a leaked draft of a respective UN dispatch.

Two companies incorporated in Singapore are accused of having violated United Nations (UN) sanctions against North Korea by supplying luxury goods, including wine and fine spirits, to the secluded regime, according to a BBC report based on a leaked draft of a respective UN dispatch.

The two firms – OCN and T Specialist – are sister companies and share the same director, the report said. They also share the same company address at Marine Parade neighbourhood. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched investigations into the companies and their businesses which allegedly supplied a range of luxury goods to North Korea’s top brass. Under UN sanctions, it has been illegal to sell luxury items to North Korea since 2006. Singapore’s laws have also banned the sale of these items to North Korea for several years.

The UN report claims that between 2011 and 2014 “transactions valued at more than $2 million” – allegedly proceeds from the sale of goods in North Korea – flowed from an account that OCN and T Specialist set up in a North Korean bank, Daedong Credit Bank, to T Specialist’s bank accounts in Singapore. Both companies are also accused by the UN of having “long-standing, close ties” with Ryugyong Commercial Bank, a North Korean bank the US put on its sanctions list in 2017

OCN’s headquarters in Singapore

However, the two companies denied any wrongdoing to the UN. T Specialist testified that the funds did not come from North Korea but from a company registered in Hong Kong, and were related to sales before the sanctions. A lawyer of the two firms said that they had given up any trade with North Korea, but that the “winding down takes a bit of time.”

Singapore authorities said that they were “working closely with the UN” on these cases.

“Where there is credible information of offenses committed by individuals or entities under Singapore law, the Singapore authorities will act expeditiously and undertake investigations,” a spokesperson of the foreign ministry said.

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