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Taiwan: Owner of Billions Bunker Group charged in court

06 Jul 2018

Taiwanese businessman Chen Shih-hsien, who runs Billions Bunker Group, has reportedly been charged at the Taiwan High Court (Kaohsiung Branch) on Thursday in connection to illegal sales of marine fuel to a North Korean vessel in 2017.

The court found Chen guilty of falsely declaring the route for Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-registered oil tanker chartered by the Billions Bunker Group.

He said the vessel was travelling to Hong Kong, when it actually sailed to international waters to engage in a ship-to-ship (STS) operation to transfer 600 metric tonnes (mt) of bunkers to North Korean vessel Sam Jong 2.

“Chen was well aware that the oil he purchased was being shipped to international waters for sale … and made four false declarations last year,” a statement from the court said, as quoted by Reuters.

Chen, meanwhile, is out on bail and barred from leaving Taiwan.

He told the court he was unaware the oil was being delivered to a North Korean vessel, and noted that the business transactions were conducted through a Chinese middleman and he has been “framed” by China.

In January, the Taiwanese government froze bank accounts of Chen’s companies and announced a ban on all business dealings with him after discovery of the illegal STS operation.

The corporate registry of the Marshall Islands later de-registered the Billions Bunker Group after learning of the development.

Oil tankers related to the Billions Bunker Group, namely Kings Way and Twins Bull, were denied entry at Kaohsiung Port in Taiwan during the same month.

Related: Bunker fuel involved in sanctioned North Korea trade
Related: Taiwan-based Billions Bunker Group de-registered
Related: Billions Bunker Group registered tankers denied port entry

Published: 6 July, 2018

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