SINGAPORE (AP) — A Singaporean businessman facing criminal charges in the United States for allegedly violating sanctions against North Korea said he was taking the concerns “very seriously.”
In a note to stakeholders of his commodities trading company Wee Tiong, seen by The Associated Press, Tan Wee Beng said he was still fully committed to his business. Tan was also blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department for allegedly doing business with the North and engaging in money laundering.
“As for the developments in the U.S., which we have learned of from the news reports, we take them very seriously. We will work closely with our legal advisors on this, and will be liaising with the relevant authorities for more information,” he said in the note, dated Oct. 27.
Last week, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Wee Tiong (S) Pte. Ltd. and ship management services company WT Marine Pte. Ltd. It alleges that Tan worked with at least one other Wee Tiong employee to fulfil millions of dollars of commodities contracts for North Korea, dating back to 2011.
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Tan is the director of both companies, which share an address and have similar board members, official records show. The Justice Department has named him in criminal charges such as bank fraud for “a multi-year scheme to violate and evade U.S. national security controls”.
Tan, who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list, “remains at large,” according to the Justice Department.
Singapore police withheld comment, saying an investigation was underway.
Tan said he is in Singapore and plans to stay there. Business records show a condominium in Singapore as his residential address.
Wee Tiong, which lists its activities as general wholesale trade, has been operating for 25 years and has an annual revenue of $400 million, the note stated.
Separately, Singapore authorities have accused three individuals, including a North Korean man, of helping to supply goods such as watches and jewelry to luxury stores in Pyongyang, drawing attention to the role the trading hub may play in helping North Korea bypass international sanctions.