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Singaporean, accomplice and three related firms charged over DPRK gasoil shipment 

Singaporean Kwek Kee Seng, who had a USD 5 million bounty offered by the US government, was charged in court for alleged involvement in the shipment of gasoil, a prohibited export item, to DPRK.

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Singaporean Kwek Kee Seng

The Singapore Police Force on Thursday (21 December) said Singaporean Kwek Kee Seng, who had a USD 5 million bounty offered by the US government, was charged in court for alleged involvement in the shipment of gasoil, a prohibited export item, to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), in contravention of the United Nations (Sanctions – DPRK) Regulations 2010.

Kwek’s accomplice Justin Low Eng Yeow and three companies related to them were also charged for their involvement in shipment.

Charges relating to the supply of prohibited export item to the DPRK, related financial transactions and falsification of documents

Investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department revealed that Kwek had allegedly conspired with five other individuals based overseas to supply gasoil to the DPRK from September to November 2019 using the vessel MT Courageous, an oil tanker, via ship-to-ship transfers on six occasions and at the Nampo Port, DPRK on the last occasion. The gasoil supplied amounted to approximately 12,260 metric tons. Arising from this, Kwek was charged with seven counts under Regulation 5(a) read with Regulation 16(1) of the United Nations (Sanctions – DPRK) Regulations 2010.

Kwek also allegedly used the bank account of a company he had control of to receive and make payments in relation to the abovementioned offences. He transferred funds on four occasions for the purchase of gasoil which were eventually supplied to the DPRK. Kwek, who was the majority shareholder and director of the company, also allegedly falsified documents belonging to the company on two occasions. Arising from this, the company was charged for four counts under Regulation 12(1)(b) read with Regulation 16(1) of the United Nations (Sanctions – DPRK) Regulations 2010, while Kwek was charged with two counts under Section 477A of the Penal Code.

In addition, Kwek also allegedly used another company on five occasions to receive payment for the prohibited supply of gasoil to the DPRK, in contravention of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap 65A, 2000 Rev Ed) (“CDSA"). Arising from this, this other company was charged with five counts under Section 47(3) of the CDSA, while Kwek was charged with five counts under Section 47(3) read with Section 59 of the CDSA.

Arising from this, Low and his company were each charged with nine counts under Regulation 12(1)(b) read with Regulation 16(1) of the United Nations (Sanctions – DPRK) Regulations 2010.

Charges relating to obstruction of justice and failure to report

Kwek also faces two charges in connection with obstructing the course of justice. He allegedly lied to the investigation officer and disposed of a phone which contained evidence pertaining to his involvement in the prohibited supply of gasoil to the DPRK. He also allegedly failed to inform the Police about the prohibited supply of gasoil to the DPRK by another vessel, MT Viet Tin 01, in February 2019. Arising from this, Kwek was charged with two counts under Section 204A(b) of the Penal Code and one count under Regulation 14(1)(c) read with Regulation 16(1) of the United Nations (Sanctions – DPRK) Regulations 2010

If convicted, an individual faces:

  • For each charge under the United Nations Act, an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, a fine or both
  • For each charge under Section 204A of the Penal Code, an imprisonment term of up to seven years, a fine or both;
  • For each charge under Section 477A of the Penal Code, an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, a fine or both
  • For each charge under Section 47(3) of the CDSA, an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, a fine or both.

In the case of a corporate entity, offenders can be given a fine not exceeding $1 million if convicted for each charge under the United Nations Act and Section 47(3) of the CDSA.

The United Nations (Sanctions – DPRK) Regulations 2010 of the United Nations Act give effect to sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on DPRK to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Singapore takes its obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions seriously and implements them fully and faithfully. We will not hesitate to take action against any individual or entity that breaches our laws and regulations.

Manifold Times previously reported the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, posting a notice, offering a reward of up to USD 5 million for information about Kwek. 

Related: US government offers USD 5 million reward for Singaporean over DPRK petroleum dealings
Related: OFAC adds Singaporean, local firms in sanctions list over DPRK petroleum dealings
Related: U.S. seizes Singaporean-owned oil tanker “M/T Courageous” at Cambodian port
Related: U.S. seizes oil tanker ‘M/T Courageous’; Singaporean charged over DPRK sanctions

Photo credit: U.S. Department of State
Published: 26 December, 2023

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Legal

Singapore: Fake oil and bunker trader cheats woman SGD 93,000, sentenced to jail

Victim lodged a police report on 29 May 2023 and authorities arrested Muhammad Sharul Bin Anoor on 8 November 2023; to date, Sharul has repaid SGD 67 to the victim.

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RESIZED state courts

A 30-year-old former deliveryman posing as an oil and bunker trader received a 19-month jail sentence at the State Court of Singapore on Friday (12 July) after pleading guilty to seven cheating charges.

Sometime in 2022, Muhammad Sharul Bin Anoor (Sharul) created a fake profile with the name “Melcolm Tan” and met the 34-year-old victim in late August 2022 on an online dating website; they initially communicated over Telegram, showed documents obtained from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

Falsely representing himself as an oil and bunker trader by occupation, “Melcolm” on 26 August 2022 told the victim she could invest in his shipping imports and make guaranteed returns of 3.5% by January 2023.

“Melcolm” told the victim that he would bear any losses, and that she would get her monies back. The victim transferred SGD 5,000 to “Melcolm” via Paynow through his mobile number on the same day but noticed the Paynow number was registered to Sharul after the first transfer.

Following, the victim messaged Sharul through WhatsApp using his Paynow number, but to maintain the deception Sharul lied that he was “Shan” who was an employee of “Melcolm” and would act as an intermediary between the victim and “Melcolm” going forward.

The victim believed Sharul and continued corresponding with “Shan”. Between August 2022 and March 2023, the victim was dishonestly induced to transfer a total of SGD 92,510 to Sharul. She used SGD 50,000 from her own personal savings and took out loans for the remaining amounts.

Sharul dissipated the monies on his renovation, car and credit card repayments. Details of several transactions are below:

Date Amount transferred to Sharul Fales representations by “Shan”
2 September 2022 SGD 8,000 Claimed “Melcolm” lost his credit card and needed funds to pay for his hotel expenses in Indonesia and his return flight to Singapore.
15 September 2022 SGD 6,000 Claimed “Melcolm” wanted to transfer the funds to “Shan”, and asked the victim to transfer the monies on his behalf.
11 October 2022 SGD 20,000 Claimed “Melcolm” needed the funds to close a deal as his friends had cheated him of $340,000.
16 November 2022 SGD 10,000 Claimed “Melcolm” needed the funds to pay customs duties to avoid being arrested.
19 December 2022 SGD 9,500 Claimed “Melcolm” needed the funds to pay his fines so that his lawyer could secure the release of his assets.
22 December 2022 SGD 7,000 Claimed “Melcolm” needed to transfer the funds to “Shan” to help with “Shan”s loans.

From March 2023, the victim attempted to meet “Melcolm” and “Shan” on various occasions to discuss the repayment of the monies, but Sharul repeatedly failed to turn up for these meetings.

Growing suspicious, the victim lodged a police report on 29 May 2023; Sharul was eventually traced and arrested on 8 November 2023.  To date, Sharul has repaid SGD 67 to the victim.

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 16 July 2024

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Legal

Singapore: Ex-Director of Inter-Pacific Petroleum appeals High Court decision

Dr Goh Jin Hian reportedly appealed against the decision by the High Court that found him to be responsible for up to USD 146 million of the company’s total USD 156 million loss.

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Singapore High Court

The former Director of defunct Singapore bunker supplier Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP) has reportedly appealed against the decision by the High Court that found him to be responsible for up to USD 146 million of the company’s total USD 156 million loss, according to media outlets on Thursday (11 July).

Manifold Times previously reported IPP Judicial Managers (JMs) Deloitte Singapore, the plaintiffs, on April 2023 initiated a legal suit against former company Director Dr Goh Jin Hian, the defendant, suing him for over USD 156 million over losses due to alleged breach of his Director’s duties.

The Singapore branch of Maybank is looking to recover an amount of USD 88.3 million while Societe Generale (SocGen) is owed USD 81.3 million that they allege to be due to Dr Goh’s negligence as Director.

Dr Goh has said it is not the responsibility of the Director to authenticate documents from management and he disputes against the banks’ own due diligence and credit risk assessment.

“I am satisfied having considered the evidence and submissions that the plaintiff’s claim has been made out as to the liability of the defendant,” wrote Judge Aedit Abdullah in his Brief Remarks on 24 January obtained by Manifold Times.

Judge Aedit pointed out Dr Goh should have carried out his duties as Director and inquired about the financial position of IPP upon knowing of three ‘red flags’ incurred.

Of the total USD 156 million claimed by the IPP JMs, Judge Aedit concluded claims for the full extent of the sum of USD 146 million (exact: USD 146,047.099.60 and the interest claimed) should be allowed.

Related: Singapore: Ex-Director of Inter-Pacific Petroleum found responsible for up to USD 146 million of firm’s loss

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 15 July 2024

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Legal

Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Shell employees plead guilty to multiple offences

Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram and Koh Choon Wei gained at least SGD 1 million each from their roles in misappropriating gas oil in the heist that took place from 2017 to 2018.

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Singapore High Court

Two former Shell employees who were involved in the conspiracy to misappropriate gas oil from Shell Pulau Bukom refinery, pleaded guilty to multiple offences in Singapore’s High Court on 2 July, The Straits Times reported.

Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 42, pleaded guilty to 31 charges for abetting the commission of criminal breach of trust, using his criminal benefits and corruption-related offences. 

Koh Choon Wei, 40, pleaded guilty to 21 charges for abetting the commission of criminal breach of trust and using his criminal benefits.

Muzaffar, who played a role in misappropriating gas oil worth nearly $120 million, made at least $1.3 million in profits while Koh benefitted at least $1 million from his role in misappropriating gas oil worth over $101 million.

The Singaporeans, who were shore loading officers, are scheduled to be sentenced on 25 July.

Earlier coverage of developments by Manifold Times regarding the Shell MGO bunker heist can be found below:

Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Shell employee receives over 16-year jail sentence
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Intertek Surveyor sentenced to four months’ jail for corruption
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Intertek Surveyor pleads guilty to corruption charge
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Shell Process Technician receives 195-month jail sentence
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Police seize property, cars, watches from ex-Shell Bukom Process Technician
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Shell blending specialist jailed over USD 956,000 worth of misappropriated gasoil
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Former Intertek, Inspectorate surveyors receive fines, jail sentences
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-CCIC Singapore surveyor pleads guilty to misconduct, receiving USD 12k in bribes
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Process Technician receives 184-month prison sentence over illicit involvement
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Syndicate member’s nephew jailed over concealment of safe containing valuables
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: 12 former surveyors from Intertek, Inspectorate, CCIC, SGS charged for corruption
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Former Shore Loading Officer receives 29-year jail sentence over total 85 charges
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Process Technician received minimum SGD 735,000 in benefits, faces 43 charges
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Ex-Shell employee admits leading role in illicit operation
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Sentek ex-Director faces 40 fresh charges
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Two former Shell employees jailed over theft
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: High Court affirms ‘Prime South’ forfeiture to Singapore State
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Three ex-Shell employees charged with bribing surveyors
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Second ex-Shell employee pleads guilty to nine charges
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: First ex-Shell employee to plead guilty over involvement
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Director of Singapore bunkering firm released from police custody
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Oil tanker ‘Prime South’ forfeited by State Courts of Singapore
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist: Director of Singapore bunkering firm face charge at State Courts
Related: Shell Singapore oil heist: Third offender pleads guilty for gas oil theft
Related: Captain of “Prime South” jailed in Shell Pulau Bukom gas oil theft
Related: Shell Singapore oil heist: Ex-Chief Officer of Prime South jailed
Related: Singapore: Shell MGO bunker heist amount balloons to USD$142 million
Related: Shell MGO bunker heist update: Fresh charges issued at Singapore court
Related: Shell Singapore oil heist: More charges issued at court
Related: Shell Singapore oil heist: Breakdown of stolen oil cargoes
Related: Intertek Singapore employee among Shell oil heist suspects

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 3 July, 2024

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