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US blacklists Singapore-based Senat Shipping over North Korea links

US blacklists Singapore-based Senat Shipping over North Korea links
The US Treasury has blacklisted Singapore-based Senat Shipping and Trading over alleged business links with North Korea.

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Senat Shipping and its president, Singaporean, Leonard Lai for allegedly provide “extensive support” Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMMC), a company which is already blacklisted.

In 2013 the OMMC operated North Korean vessel Chong Chon Gang was seized in Panama for weapons smuggling.

“Today, OFAC designated Singapore-based Senat Shipping Company for providing material support to OMMC.  This extensive support to OMMC includes arranging the purchase, repair, certification, and crewing of OMMC vessels,” the US Treasury said in a statement.

Senat Shipping meanwhile has issued strong denial that it, or its president, were involved in any illegal activities. The company said it had been legitimately chartering in North Korean vessels since 1997.

“It is an open fact and well known to the worldwide commodity sugar/rice/agricultural products markets, international traders and the international shipping community that Senat has, along with many other companies, commercial dealings with North Korea,” it said.

“Senat wishes to stress that all its dealings were legal and involved commercial shipments of commodities on behalf of international commodity traders. These transactions have been transparent and can survive any form of scrutiny.”

“Arms shipments transported by OMMC serve as a key resource for North Korea's ongoing proliferation activities.  Sales from these shipments contribute to North Korea's other illicit programs,” said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin.