The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced financial sanctions against family members of regime leaders and key additional individuals and businesses that are part of the financial network of Tay Za, a Burmese business tycoon and arms dealer with close ties to Burma's military junta.
"We are tightening financial sanctions against Tay Za, an arms dealer and financial henchman of Burma's repressive junta," said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. "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."
Today's action targets the Htoo Group of Companies, which carries out key projects on behalf of the Burmese junta, including the purchase of military equipment and aircraft for the Burmese military.
Among the individuals named today is Aung Thet Mann, a director of Tay Za's Htoo Group of Companies. Aung Thet Mann is the son of General Thura Shwe Mann, a senior official in the Burmese government and a member of the State Peace and Development Council. Tay Za has used his business relationship with Aung Thet Mann to win favorable business contracts from the Burmese junta. OFAC also designated Thiha, Tay Za's brother and business partner, and U Kyaw Thein, a director of Tay Za's business ventures in Singapore.
The companies designated include Myanmar Avia Export Company Ltd., a company Tay Za has used to purchase helicopters and aircraft on behalf of the Burmese regime; Ayer Shwe Wah Company Limited, an enterprise for which Aung Thet Mann serves as a director; and Pavo Aircraft Leasing Pte. Ltd. in Singapore.
Four spouses of senior Burmese government officials have also been named - Khin Lay Thet, the wife of General Thura Shwe Mann; Myint Myint Ko, the wife of Construction Minister Saw Tun; Tin Lin Myint, the wife of Lieutenant-General Ye Myint; and Myint Myint Soe, the wife of Foreign Affairs Minister Nyan Win.
These actions were taken pursuant to Executive Order 13448, which authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to designate senior regime officials, human rights violators in Burma, persons engaged in public corruption in Burma, financial and material supporters of the Government of Burma, and spouses and dependent children of previously designated individuals. Tay Za was named along with five of his companies by President George W. Bush in the Annex to E.O. 13448 of October 18, 2007.
Today's designation freezes any assets the designees may have subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designated companies and individuals. It also puts the world on notice about the financial operations of key junta associates and their companies.