US blacklists WT Marine over North Korea links

The U.S. Department of Treasury has designated two Singapore-based companies and one individual for alleged money laundering in support of North Korea.

The companies that are being sanctioned are WT Marine Pte, a marine fuels company, and commodities trading house Wee Tiong Pte. Furthermore, two of WT Marine’s vessels are said to have engaged in illicit activity involving support to the government of North Korea. The two oil product tankers, JW Jewel and Nymex Star, have also been designated by the U.S.

The treasury’s sanctions have targeted Tan Wee Bang, who is director of Wee Tiong and managing director of WT Marine for alleged money laundering.

“Over several years, dating back to at least 2011, Tan Wee Beng and at least one other individual in his company fulfilled millions of dollars in commodities contracts for North Korea.  To do so, Tan Wee Beng made a concerted effort to obfuscate payment origins and structure transactions to avoid regulatory scrutiny.  (…) In at least one instance, when a wire payment was rejected, Tan Wee Beng and Wee Tiong (S) Pte Ltd orchestrated payment in bulk cash, hand-delivered to a North Korean,” the treasury office said.

The sanctions freeze assets of the two companies and Tan Wee Bang that are located in the U.S. and prohibit Americans from dealing with them.

Based on the initial information, Tan Wee Beng is said to be unaware of the criminal charges and the two companies uninformed of the dealings in question.

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