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24 Aug 2019, Edition - 1502, Saturday

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World News

Singapore investigating 2 companies sanctioned for providing oil to N Korea

channelnewsasia.com

The Singapore Government was notified of the US’ plans to impose sanctions on two locally registered companies – Transatlantic Partners and Velmur Management – before they were penalised on Tuesday (Aug 22), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.

Responding to the media query by Channel NewsAsia, MFA said on Wednesday that the Government has been “investigating this matter”.

“Singapore will strictly fulfil its obligations under the United Nation Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) and international law, and not allow our financial system to be abused for the conduct of illicit activities,” it added.

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday slapped sanctions on 10 entities and six individuals “in response to North Korea’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), violations of UNSCRs, and attempted evasion of US sanctions”. Among these are the two Singapore-based companies and three Russian individuals – Mikhail Pisklin, Andrey Serbin and Irina Huish.

Pliskin, through Transatlantic, concluded a contract to purchase fuel oil with Daesong Credit Development Bank – a North Korean bank blacklisted in 2016 by the Treasury Department. Serbin is a representative of Transatlantic who worked with an executive director of Velmur, Huish, to purchase gas oil for delivery to North Korea, according to a press release.

Huish has also worked with Transatlantic to circumvent sanctions, it added. “Both of these companies have attempted to use the US financial system to send millions of dollars in payments on behalf of North Korea-related transactions.”

A Bloomberg report on Wednesday said the US is seeking to recover US$7 million that was wired to Velmur in May.
With the sanctions, US nationals are generally prohibited from dealing with the listed companies and individuals, according to the press release.

ACRA DOCUMENTS ON 2 COMPANIES

According to Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) records, Transatlantic Partners was incorporated last May and its principal activities are in the general wholesale trade and wholesale of industrial, construction and related machinery and equipment.

It has a paid-up capital of S$1,000 and the registered office address is at #29-05A International Plaza, but a check on the online directory showed no such entity.

The ACRA filing listed Singaporean Andruew Tang You Liang – a professional wrestler who goes by the moniker The Statement – as its sole director and shareholder, as well as a secretary Yeo Chee Seng. They were appointed on May 16 and May 11, 2016, respectively.

As for Velmur Management, the company was incorporated in November 2014 and is in the commercial and industrial real estate management, according to its ACRA records. It also deals in oil products transportation, storage and transportation facilities management.

Like Transatlantic, it has a paid-up capital of S$1,000 and its registered address is at the 66th floor of The Sail @ Marina Bay, which is also the home address of its South African director Amtchentsev Vladlen.

Another Russian, Ruslan Larin, was also listed as director – as recently as Aug 7 this year. He is also the sole shareholder of the company. Executive director Huish was not named in the ACRA document.

MFA said in its statement that the Singapore Government conducts regular industry outreach to inform businesses of updates to local regulations and the latest United Nations Security Council Resolutions on North Korea.

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