US Government Sanctions Myanmar Junta Leader’s Adult Children

By The Irrawaddy 11 March 2021

Washington has imposed sanctions on two adult children of the Myanmar junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

The sanctions are the United States latest response to the Feb. 1 coup by the military and their subsequent use of lethal force against peaceful protestors calling for the reinstatement of the democratically-elected civilian government.

U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions on Aung Pyae Sone and Khin Thiri Thet Mon and six companies controlled by them.

OFAC said that the pair controlled a variety of business holdings which have directly benefited from their “father’s position and malign influence”.

The companies sanctioned include A & M Mahar Company Limited, Sky One Construction Company Limited, The Yangon Restaurant, Yangon Gallery and Everfit Company Limited.

Yangon Restaurant and Yangon Gallery are controlled by Aung Pyae Son, who was awarded a 30-year permit to run them in 2013 without facing any competing bids.

OFAC said that from 2013 to 2018 Aung Pyae Sone paid less than one percent of the rental rate for the businesses compared with other properties in the same township, with the Yangon regional government acknowledging that the national government dictated the low rental rates.

Khin Thiri Thet Mon owns Seventh Sense, a media production business with an exclusive contract with Nay Toe, an actor who features prominently in marketing for Mytel, the mobile telephone operator established by Min Aung Hlaing.

The activist group Justice for Myanmar released a list of 18 companies linked to the military in early February, calling for international sanctions to be targeted against them. The companies are linked to military members of the State Administrative Council, their immediate family members and their business associates.

OFAC’s sanctions mean that all property and interests in property controlled by those sanctioned, either directly or indirectly, individually or with other blocked persons, which are in the US or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

In the statement, the U.S also urged the military regime to release Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other civilians detained by the military.

A total of 1,689 people have been detained by the junta as of Thursday, including prominent activists, journalists and anti-coup protesters, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Andrea M. Gacki, Director of OFAC, said that the use of indiscriminate violence by Myanmar’s security forces against peaceful protesters is unacceptable.

Since the Feb. 1 coup, more than 60 civilians have been killed by the police and army during crackdowns against peaceful demonstrations protesting the military takeover.

Gacki said that the US will continue to work with other international partners to press the Myanmar military and police to cease all violence against peaceful protestors and to restore democracy and the rule of law in the country.

On Wednesday, the U.N Security Council agreed to condemn the use of violence against protestors in Myanmar, but avoided condemning the military takeover as a coup.

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