U.S. links Taiwan WMD proliferators to North Korea

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated a Taiwanese business and individual on Friday pursuant to an executive order meant to freeze the assets of weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters.

Trans Multi Mechanics Co., Ltd., and Chang Wen-Fu, the company's CEO and general manager, allegedly engaged in the procurement of dual-use machinery for North Korea. The company and its CEO allegedly worked with Alex Tsai, a North Korean procurement agent.

"It is essential that we continue to make it as difficult as possible for North Korea to facilitate its nuclear and ballistic missile programs by exposing key cogs in North Korea's procurement network," David Cohen, the U.S. under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said. "We will continue to work with our partners in federal law enforcement and our friends around the world to expose anyone assisting the North Korean government's illicit procurement activities."

Alex Tsai and his son, Yueh-Hsun Tsai, were recently arrested in Estonia and the U.S., respectively, and each was charged in the U.S. District Court for the North District of Illinois with conspiring to defraud the U.S. in its enforcement of laws and regulations that prohibit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Alex Tsai allegedly used Trans Multi Mechanics to obtain and ship hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to North Korea and for the negotiation of contracts on behalf of North Korea. Trans Multi Mechanics also allegedly engaged in some purchases that resulted in the charges against Alex Tsai and his son.

The sanctions generally prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with Trans Multi Mechanics and Chang Wen-Fu and any assets from the entities that may be subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.