Son of Blacklisted MP to Join G-20 Summit

By Hnin Yadanar Zaw 12 November 2014

RANGOON — The son of a senior ruling party politician who was recently blacklisted by the United States will join President Thein Sein on an official business delegation to Australia later this week.

A prominent businessman and son of Lower House MP Aung Thaung, Nay Aung will attend the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia from Nov. 15-16, according to the President’s Office in Naypyidaw.

Nay Aung’s conglomerate International Group of Entrepreneurs (IGE) Pte. Ltd. was among 24 corporate entities and industry representatives selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the summit. Burma’s delegation will represent a wide breadth of enterprises including gas, oil, mining, banking and consultancy.

The delegation will meet with Australian and other international business giants to discuss strengthening bilateral trade, resource exploration and investment protocols. Attendees are also expected to discuss enhancement of exploration and extraction technologies in Burma.

Nay Aung and his brother, Pye Aung, own a number of businesses dealing in gas, oil, mining, timber and finance. They are believed to have benefited greatly from their father’s close ties with former Snr-Gen Than Shwe by receiving lucrative pre-reform business concessions.

Nay Aung is also a 90 percent shareholder in United Amara Bank, which suffered some brief but ultimately benign fallout when Aung Thaung was blacklisted by the US government on Oct. 31.

The US Department of the Treasury said that Aung Thaung, a current MP and former industry minister under the previous military junta, was added to the Specially Designated Nationals list for “undermining the positive political and economic transition in Burma,” which the department said amounted to “perpetuating violence, oppression, and corruption.”

Well-informed Burma analysts were quick to observe that Aung Thaung was also long suspected of involvement with a Buddhist nationalist movement accused of inciting anti-Muslim violence.

Sanctions against Aung Thaung prohibit US citizens from doing business with him without express permission. The restrictions do not extend to his family members or their businesses.

While the President’s Office confirmed that Nay Aung is among members of the G-20 delegation, a representative of IGE declined comment. Another member of the delegation told The Irrawaddy that he and other attendees are concerned that the sanctions against Nay Aung’s father could affect his access to the summit.

The G-20 is a group of the world’s 20 biggest economies, providing a network for global finance across governments and central banks. The G-20 economies account for about two-thirds of the world’s population and approximately 85 percent of gross world product.