Background

A Taiwan businessman whom the U.S. has linked to the supply of weapons manufacturing machinery to North Korea was sentenced to 24 months in prison March 16 for conspiring to violate U.S. regulations that seek to disrupt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. A joint press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Industry and Security notes that the sentence reflects the “substantial assistance” the man has and will continue to provide to the government’s investigation of weapons of mass destruction proliferators.

According to court documents, the man was associated with at least three companies based in Taiwan that purchased and then exported, and attempted to purchase and export, from the U.S. and other countries machinery used to fabricate metals and other materials with a high degree of precision. In January 2009 the man and two of these companies were designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, prohibiting any person or company in the U.S. from knowingly engaging in any transaction or dealing with them. After these designations these entities continued to conduct business together but attempted to hide their involvement in those transactions by conducting business under different company names.

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