US charges Singaporean trader and imposes sanctions on 2 Singapore-based firms

TAN WEE BENG (Conspiracy to Violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); Bank Fraud; Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud; Money Laundering; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering; Conspiracy to Defraud the United States) FBI

The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on two Singapore-based organizations and a man, a Singaporean trader was accused of money laundering through the US financial system to avoid the sanctions against North Korea.

In a news release, published on Thursday, October 25 the Treasury Department said that the accused, Tan Wee Beng, the director and shareholder of a Singapore-based commodities trading company hid the details of payments and structured transactions.

The country also stated that Beng's motive was to fulfil millions of dollars in North Korean contracts since at least 2011. The department also imposed sanctions to two vessels, Wee Tiong (S) Pte Ltd, and WT Marine Pte Ltd, that tied to a company, where Beng is a managing director.

As per the department, the criminal charges against Beng were unsealed. The arrest warrant for the accused was issued in last August and the FBI notice stated that including money laundering, he was charged with bank fraud and defrauding US.

Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said, "Tan Wee Beng and his co-conspirators made deliberate efforts to launder money through the U.S. financial system on behalf of North Korea."

"Governments, financial institutions, and other companies worldwide need to be on high alert to these types of schemes. The U.S. government will not overlook these deceptive practices. We are deeply committed to the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and Treasury will continue to enforce and implement sanctions until that time," he added.

Reports revealed that William Sweeney Jr commented on this case and said, Beng "conducted illicit transactions totalling millions of dollars in support of North Korean entities in blatant violation of a host of economic sanctions the United States has established against North Korea and North Korean entities."

Who is Tan Wee Beng?

After the US Treasury Department confirmed the news, many twitter followers started to talk about the accused. One of the tweets has stated that Beng is not only a recipient of 2015 Nanyang Technical University's Outstanding Young Alumni Award but also received the prestigious 2011 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of the Year award.