Washington, DC--The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced financial sanctions against ten companies owned or controlled by the Government of Burma or its officials, including companies involved in the gem-mining industry. The action coincides with the President's signing of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, legislation aimed at extending sanctions against leaders of the Burmese military regime, those providing such leaders with economic and political support, their immediate family members, and the Burmese gem industry, an important source of revenue for the Burmese military regime.
"We are tightening financial sanctions against Burma's repressive junta and the companies that finance it," said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. "The regime's refusal to protect and allow relief to reach the Burmese people as Cyclone Nargis devastated their country is but another example of the regime's heartless neglect of its people."
Today's action by Treasury targets two conglomerates, the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEH) and the Myanmar Economic Corporation, both of which have extensive interests in a variety of sectors critical to the Government of Burma, including the gem, banking, and construction industries. Four of UMEH's subsidiary companies--Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Company Ltd., Myawaddy Trading Ltd., and Myawaddy Bank Ltd.--have been added to OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list as a result of today's action.
Today's action also targets the "No. 1 Mining Enterprise," "No. 2 Mining Enterprise," and "No. 3 Mining Enterprise," all of which are owned by the Burmese Ministry of Mines. The Cooperative Import Export Enterprise, a trading company under the Burmese Ministry of Cooperatives, has been sanctioned today as well.
This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13464, which authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to block the property and interests in property of, among others, entities owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, the Government of Burma or an official or officials of the Government of Burma. On April 30, 2008, President Bush blocked the property and interests in property of three Burmese state-owned enterprises, Myanmar Gem Enterprise, Myanmar Timber Enterprise, and Myanmar Pearl Enterprise, named in the Annex to Executive Order 13464.
Today's designation freezes all assets of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designated persons. The designations also make available to the global community information about companies that provide vital support to the Burmese military and to a regime that is systematically oppressing the Burmese people.