(Bloomberg) — A businessman accused by the US of breaking international sanctions by transporting fuel to North Korea is currently in Singapore and has been under investigation there, the city-state’s police said.
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The police said Kwek Kee Seng, director of the Singapore-based shipping company Swanseas Port Services (S) Pte., has been probed since April 2021 for offences committed under the island’s laws, and his passport has been impounded.
The US Department of State on Thursday issued a $5 million bounty for information on Kwek, accusing him of directing the delivery of petroleum products to North Korea and using one of his own oil tankers, the M/T Courageous, to conduct illicit ship-to-ship transfers.
The US is ratcheting up pressure on anyone seen supporting the development of North Korea’s weapons programs. It has also condemned what it said was the test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea on Thursday, as Pyongyang continued a barrage of weapons tests to protest allied military drills.
Kwek was among individuals and entities sanctioned by the US last month for activities related to the exportation of petroleum to the regime. The US State Department noted on Thursday that Kwek remained at large, listing North Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Cameroon and Cambodia as his known locales.
Singapore police said they contacted the US on Nov. 4 seeking clarification on the situation as they had been in “active communication” with them on Kwek’s case. “Singapore will continue to assist the US authorities within the ambit of our laws and international obligations,” the police said in a statement.
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