MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) – A Taiwan resident with suspected ties to North Korea has been charged together with his son with seeking to bypass a US ban on the export of weapons machinery to Pyongyang with the aim of helping the country obtain weapons of mass destruction (WMD), law enforcement officers in the United States said.
According to a statement by the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago released on Monday, Hsien Tai Tsai, 67, also known as Alex Tsai, was arrested last Wednesday in Estonia’s capital Tallinn, while his son Yueh-Hsun Tsai, 36, also known as “Gary Tsai,” was arrested the same day at his home in Glenview, Illinois.
Alex Tsai had previously been banned from doing business in the United States for his role in a North Korean weapons procurement channel. But the younger Tsai allegedly helped his father to evade the ban by conspiring to continue shipping machinery that could be used to produce WMD in North Korea.
The two are now accused of conspiracy to defraud the US in its enforcement of laws against the spread of WMD, conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and money laundering.
The investigation has revealed that the suspects are associated with at least three Taiwan-based companies — Global Interface Company Inc., Trans Merits Co. Ltd., and Trans Multi Mechanics Co. Ltd. — that purchased and then exported from the US “machinery used to fabricate metals and other materials with a high degree of precision,” the statement said.
Alex Tsai is now pending extradition to the US, while his son has been placed under home arrest in the US, where he is a legal resident. It was not immediately clear what the older Tsai was doing in Estonia.
North Korea has been subject to international criticism and sanctions over its nuclear and weaponry programs.