Bush Slaps Sanctions on More Junta Cronies
covering burma and southeast asia
Friday, May 24, 2019

Bush Slaps Sanctions on More Junta Cronies

By LALIT K JHA Friday, January 16, 2009


WASHINGTON — With just five days left in its presidency, the Bush administration on Thursday slapped sanctions against two junta cronies, their business entities and 14 companies in an effort to put additional pressure on the Burmese military regime, which has been feeling the pinch of US-led international sanctions.

Win Aung of Dagon International and Zaw Zaw of Max Myanmar are the two junta cronies added to the list of “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” under the Tom Lantos Block Burma Jade Law.

Myanmar Ivanhoe Company, a Canadian joint-venture business, has also been slapped with sanctions by the US, according to an announcement made by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“Congress and the administration have made clear the need to apply vigorous sanctions against the Burmese junta as long as it continues to suppress democratic dissent,” said OFAC Director Adam J Szubin in a statement.

“The junta’s imprisonment of prominent democracy advocates confirms Burma’s unwillingness to abide by international commitments and underscores the need to maintain pressure against one of the world’s worst violators of human rights,” Szubin said.

The announcement comes on a day on which the newly appointed US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, in her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she favored imposing multilateral sanctions against the Burmese military regime.

Under the Bush administration, the US has led the world, in particular the developed countries, in imposing sanctions against the Burmese military junta. So far, as many as 100 individuals and entities has been targeted by US sanctions, including key state-owned enterprises, senior junta officials, regime cronies and their business networks.

Zaw Zaw is the managing director of the Max Myanmar Group of Companies, a Burmese entity with interests in the gem, timber, construction and tourism industries.

Max Myanmar, the statement alleged, has provided important services in support of the Burmese junta, particularly in the form of construction projects. The Treasury Department’s action targets eight companies belonging to the Max Myanmar Group, as well as Zaw Zaw’s Singapore-based company, Max Singapore International Pvt Ltd.

The statement also said that Win Aung has made large financial donations to the Burmese junta and has provided services in support of the regime on significant construction projects. Win Aung is being designated along with two of his companies, Dagon International Ltd and Dagon Timber Ltd.

OFAC also announced the levying of a third round of sanctions against the financial network of Tay Za, a notorious regime henchman and arms dealer. Today’s action targets Espace Avenir, a Rangoon hotel owned or controlled by Tay Za.

Sanctions have also been imposed on Sentosa Treasure Pvt Ltd, a Singaporean firm owned by Cecilia Ng, who was singled out for sanctions on February 25, 2008, along with her husband, junta crony Steven Law. Also designated are nine firms that previously had been identified as being owned by Ng.

OFAC has also targeted Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Ltd (MICCL), a joint venture between a Canadian company and the Burmese state-owned No 1 Mining Enterprise. It controls the Monywa copper project, the biggest of its kind in the country, located in Burma’s northwestern Sagaing Division.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the UN-designate, Susan Rice, said on Thursday that she favored “multilateral sanctions” with the support of regional powers as a measure to put pressure on the Burmese junta to release political prisoners and restore democracy in the country.

Rice expressed her views on Burma in a written response to Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which held nomination hearings for the US ambassador to the UN-designate on Thursday.

During her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rice, considered to be a key foreign policy advisor to US President-elect Barack Obama, identified Burma as one of the countries of the world where persecution and repression of the innocent continue. The international community needs to do more, she said.

She also identified Burma as a country where Security Council measures have not yielded the desired results.

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