Tracking the Tycoons
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Tracking the Tycoons


By THE IRRAWADDY SEPTEMBER, 2008 - VOLUME 16 NO.9


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(Page 3 of 7)

According to Burmese media reports, Max Myanmar contributed $1.6 million to the relief effort.

Besides his business interests, Zaw Zaw is the chairman of the Myanmar Football Federation and the Myanmar Tennis Federation. He is considered to be very close to the grandson of Than Shwe.


Pyi Aung & Nay Aung
Aung Yee Phyo Co Ltd and IGE Co Ltd

Brothers Nay Aung and Maj Pyi Aung, two rising businessmen, are no strangers to the world of crony business in Burma. They are the sons of Aung Thaung, the powerful Minister for Industry (1). Aung Thaung, a known hardliner in the cabinet, is close to both Than Shwe and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye. His son, Pyi Aung, is married to Nandar Aye, daughter of Maung Aye.

Pyi Aung and Nay Aung founded Aung Yee Phyo Co Ltd and IGE Co Ltd, gaining a foothold in the oil, gas, agricultural products and timber trading industries. IGE was established in 1994 and registered in Singapore in 2001, when the company opened its office in Shenton Way, an exclusive area of the Lion City.

IGE is one of Burma’s leading companies. It is a major supplier of materials used in the construction of electrical substations and transmission lines, and sells equipment and machinery to both private- and public-sector companies in the oil and gas industry. It also provides compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations for government projects. The company exports rice and imports machinery and spare parts for electrical generating projects, as well as steel, fertilizers and chemicals.

In March 2007, IGE signed a contract with little-known Rimbunan Petrogas Ltd, a partner in a joint venture with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise to explore for offshore oil and gas in Block A, off the Arakan coast. According to a report in The New Light of Myanmar newspaper, Rimbunan Petrogas Ltd is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The two brothers reportedly own three US-made Hummers, the civilian version of the military Humvee. They are banned from traveling to Australia or the European Union, but have managed to avoid becoming targets of US sanctions by maintaining a low profile. 


Aung Thet Mann
Ayer Shwe Wah Company

Aung Thet Mann (Illustration
Harn Lay/The Irrawaddy)
A graduate of the Rangoon Institute of Economics, Aung Thet Mann, 33, set up the Ayer Shwe Wah Company several years ago. The company is involved in construction, palm oil production and the import and export of chemical fertilizers and agricultural products.

When his father, Gen Thura Shwe Mann, was the regional commander in Irrawaddy Division, Aung Thet Mann received lucrative government contracts to supply fertilizers to farmers throughout the delta region. More recently, his company has been involved in construction projects in the new administrative capital of Naypyidaw.

Ayer Shwe Wah is a subsidiary of Htoo Trading Company, which Aung Thet Mann joined in 1997 after he was recruited by CEO Tay Za. In 2001, the regime gave Ayer Shwe Wah more than 30,000 acres of wetlands and rice paddy in the delta region. In 2005, it became the first private company to receive permission to export rice to Bangladesh and Singapore.

Business rivals accuse Aung Thet Mann of using access to government supplies of cheap cement to underbid them for construction contracts related to the Defense Ministry’s relocation to Naypyidaw.

In an interview with The Irrawaddy, Aung Thet Mann claimed that he provided $1 million in emergency aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis. He also called for more international assistance and urged the US to lift its sanctions. Last year, the US placed his company on the sanctions list.

His younger brother, Capt Toe Naing Mann, also has close connections to the business community. He is married to the daughter of another tycoon, Zaykabar Khin Shwe.


Michael Moe Myint
Myint & Associates Group

A former senior pilot at Myanmar Airways, Michael Moe Myint later worked at an airways equipment export company in California. He founded Myint & Associates Group Companies in 1989 and currently serves as the managing director.



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