UN report accuses two Singapore firms of sending luxury goods to North Korea

  • The North Korean flag flies above the North Korean embassy in Beijing on March 9, 2018. US President Donald Trump agreed to a historic first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a stunning development in America’s high-stakes nuclear standoff with North Korea. / AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER

Two Singaporean companies have been accused of supplying luxury goods to North Korea in violation of the United Nations sanctions, The Straits Times Online reported on Tuesday (March 13) quoting BBC report.

According to the BBC report, the two Singapore companies were mentioned in a leaked draft UN report which has been submitted to the UN Security Council and is likely to be published later this week.

The Singaporean government, said BBC, was aware of the case and had begun investigating where there was credible information of possible offences.

The two Singapore-based firms have been identified as OCN and T Specialist which are sister companies and share the same director.  However, the two have denied any wrongdoings.

The leaked UN report alleged that the two firms supplied a range of luxury goods, including wines and spirits to North Korea until as recently as July 2017.  Between 2011 and 2014, transactions valued at more than US$2 million, allegedly proceeds from the sale of goods in North Korea, flowed from an account that OCN and T Specialist set up in a North Korean bank, Daedong Credit Bank, to T Specialist’s bank accounts in Singapore.

Singapore has banned its financial institutions from providing financial assistance or services for facilitating any trade with North Korea.

OCN and T Specialist were also accused by the UN of having long-standing close ties – including ownership ties – with Ryugyong Commercial Bank, a bank the US put on its sanctions list in 2017.

The two companies’ lawyer, Edmond Pereira, has confirmed that they are under investigation by the Singapore authorities, but insisted they did not have any current links, interests or any sort of relationship with entities in North Korea.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore told the BBC it was working closely with the UN on these cases.