US sanctions two Singapore firms for North Korea dealings

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The US Treasury Department said in a statement on October 25 it has put two Singapore companies, commodities trading house Wee Tiong Singapore Pte. Ltd. and ship management services company WT Marine Pte. Ltd., on its sanctions list for allegedly being engaged in illegitimate deals with North Korea, including money laundering.

Wee Tiong bills itself as one of the largest privately owned trading houses in Asia, trading in marine fuel, rice and sugar, while WT Marine is operating barges, tugboats and freight boats. Both companies’ director, Tan Wee Beng, stands accused by US authorities for allegedly using his commodity trading company to finance shipments of goods to North Korea and laundering money to conceal the nature of the transactions. The charges came in a previously sealed indictment that was made public in tandem with sanctions against Beng by the Treasury Department.

In addition, Beng has been charged by US authorities with bank fraud, money laundering and sanctions violations. The government considers him a fugitive and aims to bring him to the U.S. to stand trial. In the meantime, the sanctions freeze any assets Beng and the companies may have in the US and generally prohibit US citizens from dealing with them.

US prosecutors allege that Beng since 2011 used his Singapore-based trading firm and front companies in Thailand and Hong Kong to enable Daedong Credit Bank – a North Korean Bank blacklisted by the Treasury Department and the UN – to evade prohibitions on North Korean access to the US financial system. Beng allegedly conducted transactions on Daedong’s behalf and paid for the shipment of goods to North Korea.

Meanwhile, in a BBC interview Beng flatly denied all charges against him, saying that he had only learned of criminal charges against him via news reports.

“Nobody has contacted me. The FBI has not called me, the Singapore police have not called me,” he told BBC, adding that he was “shocked” and had instructed lawyers to defend him. He also disputed claims by the FBI that he was a “fugitive.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US Treasury Department said in a statement on October 25 it has put two Singapore companies, commodities trading house Wee Tiong Singapore Pte. Ltd. and ship management services company WT Marine Pte. Ltd., on its sanctions list for allegedly being engaged in illegitimate deals with North Korea, including money laundering.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US Treasury Department said in a statement on October 25 it has put two Singapore companies, commodities trading house Wee Tiong Singapore Pte. Ltd. and ship management services company WT Marine Pte. Ltd., on its sanctions list for allegedly being engaged in illegitimate deals with North Korea, including money laundering.

Wee Tiong bills itself as one of the largest privately owned trading houses in Asia, trading in marine fuel, rice and sugar, while WT Marine is operating barges, tugboats and freight boats. Both companies’ director, Tan Wee Beng, stands accused by US authorities for allegedly using his commodity trading company to finance shipments of goods to North Korea and laundering money to conceal the nature of the transactions. The charges came in a previously sealed indictment that was made public in tandem with sanctions against Beng by the Treasury Department.

In addition, Beng has been charged by US authorities with bank fraud, money laundering and sanctions violations. The government considers him a fugitive and aims to bring him to the U.S. to stand trial. In the meantime, the sanctions freeze any assets Beng and the companies may have in the US and generally prohibit US citizens from dealing with them.

US prosecutors allege that Beng since 2011 used his Singapore-based trading firm and front companies in Thailand and Hong Kong to enable Daedong Credit Bank – a North Korean Bank blacklisted by the Treasury Department and the UN – to evade prohibitions on North Korean access to the US financial system. Beng allegedly conducted transactions on Daedong’s behalf and paid for the shipment of goods to North Korea.

Meanwhile, in a BBC interview Beng flatly denied all charges against him, saying that he had only learned of criminal charges against him via news reports.

“Nobody has contacted me. The FBI has not called me, the Singapore police have not called me,” he told BBC, adding that he was “shocked” and had instructed lawyers to defend him. He also disputed claims by the FBI that he was a “fugitive.”

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