The United States said it seized 2,734 tons of M/T Courageous in Cambodia after transferring more than US$1.5 million worth of oil to a North Korean ship.
The U.S. Department of Justice stated that the U.S. seized a Singapore-owned oil tanker that was used to transport oil to North Korea in violation of international sanctions.
A New York federal judge issued a confiscation verdict, authorizing the United States to take ownership of M/T Courageous currently in Cambodia.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Justice on Friday, the ship has a capacity of 2,734 tons and was purchased by Singaporean national Kwek Kee Seng and is still at large.
The statement said that according to reports, the ship was used to deliver petroleum products to North Korean ships and directly to Nampo Port in North Korea.
It said: “The criminal charges of conspiracy to evade economic sanctions against North Korea and money laundering conspiracy are being sued against the alleged owner and operator of Courageous, Kwek Kee Seng, Kwek Kee Seng is a Singaporean national who is still at large,” it said. Use North Korean acronyms. Official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The statement did not explain why Kwek has not been charged more than a year after the ship was detained, but added that the New York Federal Court has issued a confiscated decision on the ship on Friday.
North Korea has become a target of United Nations and other international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The sanctions restricted its imports of oil and other items.
The statement of the US Department of Justice alleges that during the four months from August to December 2019, M/T Courageous illegally stopped transmitting its location information, during which satellite images showed that it transferred more than 150 value to a North Korean ship. Ten thousand dollars of oil, Sabiol.
The Cambodian authorities seized the oil tanker under a U.S. arrest warrant in March 2020, and the Courageous has been detained there ever since.
The statement said that the payment for the purchase of Valor and the oil was paid in U.S. dollars through unknowing U.S. banks, which violated U.S. laws and UN resolutions.
“Guo and his overseas accomplices tried to conceal these sanctions-evading transactions, including using front companies to disguise the nature of the transactions,” it said.
It did not name any accomplices.
Relations between Washington and Pyongyang are strained, and the North Korean foreign minister ruled out any talks with the United States in June this year, saying that such dialogues “will accomplish nothing.”
Negotiations between the two countries have long been stalled by international sanctions imposed on this nuclear-weapon country and what North Korea should give up in exchange for sanctions.