Myanmar Junta Detains Petrol Tycoon With Corruption Charge 

By The Irrawaddy 27 May 2022

Myanmar’s military regime has detained another leading business owner on Thursday as U Zin Min Aung, the major shareholder in the chain of Yangon Petrol (YP) filling stations, becomes the third tycoon to be charged by the regime since February.

The regime’s Anti-Corruption Commission announced on Thursday that it has opened a case against him under the Anti-Corruption Law.

The commission also filed corruption charges against ousted Yangon Region National League for Democracy (NLD) figures, including energy minister U Han Tun, mayor U Maung Maung Soe, vice-mayor U Soe Lwin, Yangon City Development Committee secretary Daw Hlaing Maw Oo and joint secretary U Than, accusing them of involvement in U Zin Min Aung’s case.

The YP chain was established in 2019 as part of then Yangon Region chief minister U Phyo Min Thein’s plan to bring down fuel prices. It was reported that YP Co. bought state-owned land from the regional government at 2,000 kyats per square foot, far below the market rate. In return, YP filling stations were expected to sell at lower prices and its petrol prices were reportedly around 50 to 60 kyats per liter less than other filling stations.

A petrol industry source in Yangon told The Irrawaddy that U Zin Min Aung’s arrest is connected with YP’s acquisition of land.

“There was a lot of controversy and opposition to YP’s acquisition of land. The arrest of U Zin Min Aung has raised the eyebrows of other directors,” said the source.

The majority of YP’s directors are also on the board of PT Power Co., a leading operator of Myanmar’s petrol stations in the country.

In April the regime detained Eden Group of Companies chairman, U Chit Khine, and his son U Win Min Khine and charged them with bribery.

The regime also detained and charged one of Myanmar’s most notorious cronies, Zaykabar Co. chairman U Khin Shwe and his son U Zay Thiha.

U Khin Shwe’s daughter is married to the son of former general and parliament speaker Thura U Shwe Mann, now the chairman of the Union Betterment Party. U Khin Shwe represented the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party in the Upper House between 2011 and 2016.

The regime has also reportedly asked military-linked crony U Teza, the chairman of Htoo Group of Companies, and Cooperatives Bank owner U Khin Maung Aye, both of whom have been living abroad, to return to Myanmar.

Another of the country’s top cronies, Ayeyarwady Bank owner U Zaw Zaw, was also briefly detained after last year’s coup.