2 firms accused of sanction violations under probe here

Local sister companies allegedly violated UN sanctions by supplying luxury goods to N. Korea

Two local companies accused of violating United Nations sanctions are being investigated by the authorities here, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) told The Straits Times yesterday.

A leaked UN report claimed that Singapore-based firms OCN and T Specialist were supplying luxury goods to North Korea until as recently as July last year.

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 MFA added that Singapore will continue to cooperate closely with the UN Panel of Experts in its investigations.

"Singapore takes its obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) seriously, and implements them assiduously. We are one of the few countries that submit detailed national implementation reports to the UNSC in a timely manner," said an MFA spokesman.

These reports are sent by member states to show how UN Resolutions are implemented.

"Singapore will not hesitate to take action against any individual or entity that breaches our laws and regulations which give effect to the UNSCRs," the spokesman added.

OBLIGATIONS TAKEN SERIOUSLY

Singapore takes its obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) seriously, and implements them assiduously. We are one of the few countries that submit detailed national implementation reports to the UNSC in a timely manner.

AN MFA SPOKESMAN

OCN and T Specialist are sister companies sharing the same director, Mr Leo Ng Kheng Wah.

Lawyer Edmond Pereira, who represents the two companies, said on Tuesday that the firms had been trading with North Korea since the mid-2000s, but both started whittling down trading activities after sanctions were imposed in 2006.

The goods traded included food items, beverages, electronics, and Seiko and Citizen watches, he added.

The leaked UN report claims that between 2011 and 2014, transactions valued at more than US$2 million (S$2.6 million) - allegedly proceeds from the sale of goods in North Korea - flowed from an account set up by both companies in a North Korean bank, Daedong Credit Bank, to T Specialist's bank accounts in Singapore.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it and other local agencies are working with the UN, but declined to name the banks being investigated.

The final UN report has been submitted to the UN Security Council and is likely to be published later this week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline '2 firms accused of sanction violations under probe here'. Print Edition | Subscribe