Singapore: On Tuesday (June 7), a director of a company was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison for interfering with an investigation into alleged illegal supply of diesel to North Korean vessels.
Manfred Low Cheng Jing, 31, was a board member of Yuk Tung Energy, a Singapore corporation that is an oil trading and bunkering company.
In January or February 2018, he disposed of the iMac, which he knew contained information related to a police investigation into YukTung Energy.
The Singaporeans were found guilty on one charge of deliberately obstructing the path of justice, and the sentence was considered on another similar charge.
Under international law, Singapore must implement UN Security Council sanctions and resolutions against North Korea to counter nuclear weapons programs.
Singapore has enacted domestic law in the form of United Nations law and United Nations (sanctions-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) rules.
UNSC resolutions prohibit the promotion or involvement of all refined petroleum products with and from ships with North Korean flag ships.
In early 2018, domestic and international media reported on January 20, 2018, allegations of a light oil ship-to-ship transfer from MTYuk Tung to the North Korean flagged ship Rye Song Gang 1.
There was a commercial arrangement for YukTung Energy to charter MT Yuk Tung. The ship was owned by another company founded in the Cook Islands.
Prior to January 25, 2018, Low learned about news reports. He traveled to Kuala Lumpur on January 25, 2018.
A day later, the Singapore Police Force’s Ministry of Commerce (CAD) received information about the alleged involvement of Yuk Tung Energy and began an investigation.
Jobs at Low’s company included printing and aggregating invoices related to commerce. He also reviewed his contract and explained it to Benito Arolia Yap, a director of another company.
Mr. Yap is the “major decision maker” of Yuk Tung Energy, said Deputy Prosecutors Tan Ben Matthias, Regina Lim, Ko Mun Keon and Samuel Chu. He is still in large numbers.
Immediately after the news report came out, Yap went to the office of the company and removed all the physical documents that were boxed and put in the car.
He instructed employees to remove bank documents, payment slips, invoices, and computers used by shipping company executives to process invoices.
Yap also instructed YukTung Energy to remove the Low iMac used in its daily work.
The iMac was taken to Low’s house and later dumped in an unknown trash can in Singapore. Not recovered.
CAD raided Yuk Tung Energy’s office on February 2, 2018. They couldn’t find an iMac or a shipping company executive computer.
The day after the attack, Rho and other employees were in Johor Bahru with the owner of the Cook Islands corporation, which owns MT Yuktun. They met Yap there and discussed how to respond to news coverage.
On February 13, 2018, the Government of Singapore was requested by the UN Expert Panel to explain the ship-to-ship transfer between MTYukTung and RyeSongGang1.
The panel also asked for other information, such as the type and quantity of petroleum products transferred to Lyson Gun 1, the identity of the North Korean contact point, and a copy of the transaction-related documents.
Obstruction of justice
When Low disposes of the iMac, he knows a news report showing that Yuk Tung Energy is suspected of playing a role in suspicion of ship-to-ship transfer, and considers police investigating the company. Was there.
He also knew that the iMac contained information about YukTung Energy related to police investigations, the prosecutor said.
“I knew that Yuk Tung Energy’s business was in the shade,” Law said, so they were afraid that police would find evidence of guilty.
CAD was able to obtain some information and documentation about Yuk Tung Energy’s business. This includes a spreadsheet detailing the company’s oil sales report.
However, Low’s disposition of the iMac has frustrated CAD’s ability to fully investigate the company’s alleged sanctions violations and criminal officers, the prosecutor said.
Rho also lied to investigators that his cell phone and laptop had been destroyed when the car ran over his bag in January 2018.
He later admitted that he had abandoned the phone that contained information related to the investigation. This formed the considered charges.
Impact on Singapore’s reputation
MTYuk Tung and Yuk Tung Energy were added to the UN Sanctions List on March 30, 2018 and are subject to sanctions under Singapore’s national law.
According to the Githabul Ministry’s influence statement quoted in court documents, Law’s actions adversely affected Singapore’s international reputation.
“The crime has frustrated Singapore’s ability to complete an investigation into possible long-standing sanctions violations against North Korea required by international law,” a court document said.
Singapore was also exposed to “international scrutiny and criticism” and “questions raised by international partners” regarding the country’s commitment to upholding its international obligations.
The crime “cast a negative light on Singapore’s reputation as a jurisdiction to comply with clean and credible laws for legitimate commercial activities,” a court document said.
The inclusion of Yuk Tung Energy on the UN sanctions list has also increased the risk to Singapore’s economic and financial sector by influencing how other local businesses are perceived in the global market.
The prosecutor’s office sought three to five months’ imprisonment, alleging that Law protected himself, as well as Yuk Tung Energy and other corporate officers, from potential criminal liability.
Prosecutors emphasized the “substantial harm” to Singapore’s international status and reputation through Law’s actions.
The inability of CAD to fully investigate alleged violations of sanctions “raises awareness that Singapore has been abandoned in complying with its international obligations,” they said.
“There has been a great deal of international attention to North Korea’s launch of various missiles, projectiles, rockets and shells, with at least 70 incidents reported between December 2010 and February 2018.
“The importance of Singapore fully investigating and taking action on alleged violations of UN North Korean rules, which are essential to counter North Korea’s nuclear activity, cannot be exaggerated.”
The prosecution also claimed that Rho’s actions were deliberate and he continued to avoid them even after disposing of the electronics.
Defense lawyer Diana Ngiam sought a prison for about three months, claiming that her client acted impulsively and punished the iMac before learning of the imminent CAD attacks and investigations.
She said the client “did not know that Yuk Tung Energy’s business was so shaded that it could be accompanied by potential violations under North Korean regulations.”
“Our client must emphasize that he was a young adult who joined Yuk Tung Energy to learn the ropes of the oil trade from Benito Yap,” Ngiam said.
A person convicted of interfering with a judicial court may be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, a fine, or both.