Burma

Tycoons Close to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Interrogated by Myanmar Military

By The Irrawaddy 15 February 2021

Since the military staged a coup in Myanmar early this month, some well-known business tycoons close to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have been interrogated. U Zaw Zaw, U Chit Khaing and U Maung Weik have been taken to undisclosed locations and interrogated for several hours.

U Zaw Zaw, chairman of Max Myanmar Group, a major conglomerate in Myanmar, has been interrogated three times since the military seized power on Feb. 1 , according to several business sources in Yangon.

U Chit Khaing, the president of Eden Group and one of the country’s wealthiest people, was also interrogated. The former National League for Democracy member did a stint in prison in the 1990s.

U Maung Weik, a real estate developer, was also briefly detained and released. He was among the prominent tycoons who made donations to fund the construction of the Eternal Peace Pagoda in Naypyitaw in 2019.

All three worked with the military regime in the past and were under US sanctions at one point. The US lifted all sanctions in 2016 when the NLD came to power.

The three tycoons have all reportedly been released and maintained a low profile since their questioning.

The businessmen are all believed to have made donations to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charitable organization established by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in honor of her late mother, for whom it is named. Military officials are currently investigating the charity’s finances on suspicion that it received donations from abroad. The foundation’s senior officials have been interrogated.

U Maung Weik is also close to Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Mandalay Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung. Military sources say the close relations have raised suspicions of bribery.

Reacting to the overthrow of the elected government of Myanmar, US President Joe Biden announced last week that he was imposing sanctions that would prevent the generals who engineered the coup in Myanmar from gaining access to US$1 billion (1.4 trillion kyats) in funds their government keeps in the United States, and said he would announce additional actions against the military leaders and their families.

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