Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲) and overseas companies he is thought to control have been put on a Taiwanese blacklist for allegedly selling oil to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions imposed on Pyongyang last year.
Chen was put on the list along with Billions Bunker Group Corporation registered in the British Virgin Islands, Billions Bunker Group Corporation registered in the Marshall Islands, Oceanic Enterprise Co. Ltd., and UMC Corporation Peru S.A.C, all companies related to Chen, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Chen is suspected of chartering a Hong Kong-registered tanker through Billions Bunker Group, which has the same address in Taiwan as Chen's fishing companies in Kaohsiung, that allegedly transferred oil to a North Korean ship in mid-October.
It was then seized by South Korean custom officials, setting off an investigation in Taiwan.
Chen was questioned by Kaohsiung prosecutors on Jan. 2 but released on Jan. 3 on bail of NT$1.5 million (US$50,700) and barred from leaving the country.
According to local media, he has denied the allegations, saying he simply made arrangements to sell oil through a Chinese middleman.
By being put on a Taiwan sanctions list Friday by a Justice Ministry-led Terrorism Financing Prevention Review Committee, Chen and the overseas companies listed cannot make withdrawals, remittances, transfers or payments, the Justice Ministry said.
Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said deposits made by Chen Shih-hsien and the sanctioned companies in local banking institutions have also been frozen, as has his property in Taiwan, in accordance with strict international standards.
He also cannot do business with banks or securities and insurance companies, Chen Ming-tang said.
Anybody who directly or indirectly helps Chen Shih-hsien obtain wealth or property could be subject to a jail sentence of between six months and five years and a fine of under NT$5 million, Chen Ming-tang said.
Financial institutions that violate the sanctions could be fined between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million.
In putting Chen and the companies on the list, the Justice Ministry said Taiwan has a responsibility to maintain regional security and cannot accept any actions that threaten international security.