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Treasury Sanctions Military Leaders, Military-Affiliated Cronies and Businesses, and a Military Unit Prior to Armed Forces Day in Burma

March 25th, 2022  •  Author:   United States Department of the Treasury  •  6 minute read
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WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five individuals and five entities connected to Burma’s military regime pursuant to Executive Order (E.O) 14014. This action comes as the regime prepares to mark the 77th Armed Forces Day. The United States has concluded that the Burmese military committed genocide, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing against Rohingya. The military has committed atrocities and other abuses against members of other ethnic and religious minority groups for decades. Following the February 1, 2021, coup that overthrew Burma’s democratically elected civilian government, the military committed numerous atrocities against the people of Burma, including the violent repression of political dissent and violence against innocent people, including at pro-democracy protests during last year’s Armed Forces Day that killed more than 100 people.

“Brutality and oppression have become trademarks of the Burmese military regime’s rule,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury is committed to holding accountable those who are responsible for the ongoing violence and repression. We will continue to support the people of Burma, including those who are courageously standing in opposition to the military.”

THE BURMESE MILITARY

As part of today’s action, OFAC designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 the 66th Light Infantry Division (66 LID), a military unit based in Pyay Township, for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, the torture of any person in Burma or other serious human rights abuse in Burma. Members of the 66 LID have been accused of carrying out the Christmas Eve massacre in 2021, where civilians in Pyay and Hpruso Townships of Karen State were captured, tortured, and killed, including some whom members of the military reportedly burned alive. Multiple reports have counted women, children, and humanitarian workers among the casualties.

In addition to the 66 LID, OFAC has designated two individuals for being leaders or officials of the military or security forces of Burma. This includes Brigadier-General Ko Ko Oo, who serves as the Commander of Central Command and the head of the Ministry of Defense’s Technologies Department, and Major-General Zaw Hein, who serves as the Commander of the Nay Pyi Taw Command.

SUPPORT TO THE BURMESE MILITARY

Arms Dealers

OFAC designated the following individuals and related entities in connection with providing arms and equipment to Burma’s military regime.

Naing Htut Aung is designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy. Naing Htut Aung is an arms dealer who has procured equipment from Chinese companies and has strong ties to members of the Burmese military leadership, including Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, who was previously designated on February 11, 2021, for being a leader or official of the Burmese military. His firm International Gateways Group of Company Limited is designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being owned or controlled by Naing Htut Aung.

Aung Hlaing Oo is designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy. Aung Hlaing Oo has been a central figure in planning to set up a manufacturing facility in Burma with his company Myanmar Chemical & Machinery that would produce military arms and equipment for both domestic use and export, particularly tanks and mortars in conjunction with the previously designated Directorate of Defense Industries. Myanmar Chemical & Machinery is designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being owned or controlled by Aung Hlaing Oo.

Sit Taing Aung is designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy. Sit Taing Aung has used his companies as fronts to broker arms deals for the Burmese military. He has close ties to members of the Burmese military leadership and other major arms suppliers, including Aung Hlaing Oo and Naing Htut Aung.

Companies owned by blocked individuals

Finally, the following entities are owned or controlled by, or have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14014.

Htoo Group of Companies is designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being owned or controlled by Tay Za, who was previously designated on January 31, 2022, for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy. Asia Green Development Bank Ltd is subsequently designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being owned or controlled by the Htoo Group of Companies.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, pursuant to E.O. 14014, all property and interests in property of the persons named above that are in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

U.S. sanctions need not be permanent. Sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior. Consistent with the findings of Treasury’s Sanctions Review, the removal of sanctions is available for persons designated under E.O. 14014, who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore the path to democracy and disassociate themselves from the military-led government in Burma.

For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list.

For information concerning the process for seeking removal from any OFAC list, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897Additional information regarding sanctions programs administered by OFAC.

Identifying information on the individuals sanctioned today.

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