Wednesday, February 6

U.S. Imposes More Sanctions to Press Myanmar’s Rulers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Bush administration on Tuesday imposed more financial sanctions against a business tycoon linked to Myanmar’s military rulers, this time aiming at companies used to purchase helicopters and other military equipment.

The action designates three companies controlled by the tycoon, Tay Za, and his Htoo Trading conglomerate, including a subsidiary based in Singapore, as supporters of a repressive government responsible for human rights violations, the Treasury Department said.

The action is the third set of American sanctions intended to put pressure on the leaders of Myanmar, formerly Burma, since a violent government crackdown on protesters last year.

“The president has made clear that we will continue to take action against the military junta and those who prop it up so long as human rights violations continue and democracy is suppressed,” said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury’s sanctions arm, the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The action prohibits Americans from doing business with the companies and with seven newly designated individuals, and seeks to freeze any assets they may have under United States jurisdiction.

Mr. Tay Za and five of his other companies, including the tourist airline Air Bagan, were blacklisted by the Treasury in October.

The designated companies included Myanmar Avia Export Company, which the Treasury said was used to purchase helicopters and aircraft on behalf of Myanmar’s military. The Treasury also designated Ayer Shwe Wah Company, a company for which the son of a Burmese general serves as a director, and Pavo Aircraft Leasing, a Singapore-based company that directs Htoo business ventures there.

The Singapore state broadcaster Channel New Asia quoted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in November as speaking out against sanctions on Myanmar, saying no one in Southeast Asia supported them. Myanmar’s impoverished neighbors, Laos and Cambodia, have also condemned the sanctions.

From NY Times

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