Singapore-headquartered commodity trader Winson Group appears to be a “key node” in an oil import network used by North Korea to bypass UN sanctions, researchers allege, following a detailed investigation into vessel activity and corporate structures. The claims – which are strongly denied by Winson Group – come in a report authored by two security-focused non-profit organisations, C4ADS and RUSI. The report, titled ‘Black Gold’, says North Korea is using “increasingly sophisticated and previously unseen” tactics to avoid detection and sidestep sanctions on petroleum imports, relying on networks of motherships, feeder ships and direct delivery vessels carrying out ship-to-ship (STS) transfers at sea. It argues that there is evidence North Korea far exceeded UN caps on oil imports in 2020, for the third consecutive year. Winson Group, it says, has “links to several shipping and oil trading companies in the region, as well as businesses registered in secrecy jurisdictions, through which it has connections to possible STS transfers of fuel that ultimately end up in North Korea”. The company “potentially plays a key role in North Korea’s illicit oil supply chain”, it adds, claiming that “in several cases… fuel transfers appeared to trace back, either directly or indirectly, to the… continue reading
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Source: CTRM Center