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Monday, April 27, 2020
Lyon Connection? Micronesia Acts Against Fake Shipping Registry
By News Release @ 7:12 PM :: 1430 Views :: Ethics, World News, Jones Act

The Federated States of Micronesia Files Criminal Case Against Suniel K. Sharma, d/b/a Jash International Maritime Law & Business Management (Unit of Ascent Navals Thailand), a/k/a Micronesia International Ship Registry, Lukner Weilbacher, Renwick Weilbacher, & Martin Jano

News Release from Federated States of Micronesia Government, April 27, 2020

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On April 17th, 2020, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) filed Criminal Case No. 2020-501 in the FSM Supreme Court’s Trial Division in the State of Pohnpei. The case is with regards to the FSM vs. Suniel K. Sharma et al. The 260-page filing includes hundreds of alleged counts of criminal activity, with the charges relating to a common scheme among the defendants beginning in 2015 and concerning the Micronesia International Ship Registry (MISR).

The case alleges that MISR was setup for the purpose of establishing an open, international vessel registration system outside the FSM, which FSM law does not permit. The FSM National Government only allows vessels (i.e. ships, boats, etc.) to fly the FSM flag if they are domestically based in the FSM.

The defendants include Suniel K. Sharma; Lukner Weilbacher; Renwick Weilbacher; and Martin Jano.

Defendant Suniel K. Sharma has been charged with Theft of Government Property in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 602, Conspiracy to Violate 11 F.S.M.C. (Money Laundering) in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 203, Money Laundering in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 918, Unauthorized Possession of Government Property in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 604, Qualification for Vessel Registration in violation of 19 F.S.M.C. Section 302, and Flight to Avoid Prosecution of Give Testimony in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 509.

Defendant Lukner Weilbacher has been charged with Conspiracy to Violate 11 F.S.M.C. Section 602 (Theft) in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 203, Conflict of Interest in Violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 512, and Selling Political Influence, Special Influence in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 521.

Defendant Renwick Weilbacher has been charged with Conspiracy to Violate 11 F.S.M.C Section 602 (Theft) in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 203, Conspiracy to Violate 11 F.S.M.C. Section 918 (Money Laundering) in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 203, and Money Laundering in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 918.

Defendant Martin Jano has been charged with Conspiracy to Violate 11 F.S.M.C. Section 602 (Theft) in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 203, Conspiracy to Violate 11 F.S.M.C. Section 918 (Money Laundering) in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 203, and Money Laundering in violation of 11 F.S.M.C. Section 918.

On April 23rd, 2020, an initial appearance in this matter was held at the FSM Supreme Court’s Trial Division in the State of Pohnpei. The Court informed the defendants of their right to counsel, their right to remain silent, and their right to be informed of the nature of the charges against them. All defendants were represented save for Suniel K. Sharma who, to the knowledge of the FSM National Government, resides abroad.

The FSM National Government is committed to transparency and to fair and equal treatment under the law for all. The FSM National Government will provide the public updates as often they are available and practical, while taking all appropriate legal measures required in this active and on-going criminal case.

---30---

Feb 12, 2019: Lyon Bribery Micronesia: Arrests Start at the Top  -- “The FSM government website indicates Halbert is Assistant Secretary of Civil Aviation under FSM Department of Transportation, Communications, and Infrastructure (TC&I) Secretary Lukner B. Weilbacher.  Weilbacher is also President Christian's brother in law.  Secretary Weilbacher did not respond to a request for comment.”

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