June 19, 2020 / 10:43 AM / 18 days ago

Singaporean wanted by FBI charged over North Korea sugar deals

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A Singaporean commodity broker wanted by the FBI was charged in the city-state on Friday for falsifying company documents to conceal transactions with North Korea from banks.

Tan Wee Beng, managing director of trading company Wee Tiong, was charged over sugar sales to customers in North Korea between 2014 and 2016, according to a police statement. A shipping manager at the firm was also charged.

Many countries and international bodies have imposed sanctions on North Korea, mainly targeted at its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Sanctions introduced by the United Nations in 2006 first restricted weapons-related materials, but were expanded to luxury goods, banking, travel and trade.

Tan and Wee Tiong could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tan is wanted by the FBI in connection with millions of dollars in commodities contracts for North Korea going back to 2011, in which money was allegedly laundered through the U.S. and Singapore financial systems, according to an FBI notice.

The U.S. Treasury Department in 2018 said it had imposed sanctions on Tan and companies linked to him over charges he hid the origins of payments and structured transactions to evade sanctions against North Korea.

Charges brought against Tan in Singapore for the falsification of papers with intent to defraud carry an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, or a fine, or both.

Reporting by John Geddie; Editing by David Evans

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