In a coordinated effort with Canada and the UK, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a new directive that prohibits certain financial services by U.S. persons to or for the benefit of Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), as well as five military regime appointed officials and officers.
Today’s sanctions package comes as part of the UK’s concerted efforts with international partners to restrict the sale and transfer of arms and finance in response to ongoing and worsening aerial attacks, including against civilians in Myanmar. In 2022, alone there were over 600 reported airstrikes perpetrated by the Myanmar military.
Since the coup in February 2021, at least 3,857 have been killed by the military, and at least 1.2 million have had to flee their homes due to violence, according to the United Nations Human Rights Office.
The announcement follows a report from UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, which called for further coordinated sanctions to prevent arms dealers bypassing restrictions.
This sanctions action against MOGE seeks to degrade the regime’s ability to purchase weapons to carry out atrocities against the people of Burma. Additionally, OFAC designated three entities and five individuals connected to Burma’s military regime pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14014. These actions are occurring in alignment with designations by both the United Kingdom and Canada.
The military regime officials and supporters that Treasury is designating today have also been, designated by at least the United Kingdom, Canada, or the European Union. These actions are a part of the ongoing, unified strategy of the United States and our partners to combat the Burma military regime’s atrocities.
“Today’s action, taken in coordination with Canada and the United Kingdom, maintains our collective pressure on Burma’s military and denies the regime access to arms and supplies necessary to commit its violent acts,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Collectively, we remain committed to degrading the regime’s evasion tactics and continuing to hold the regime accountable for its violence.”
FINANCIAL SERVICES DIRECTIVE
Today, OFAC is issuing Directive 1 under E.O. 14014, “Prohibitions Related to Financial Services to or for the Benefit of Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise” (the “MOGE Financial Services Directive”), which prohibits U.S. persons from the provision, exportation, or re-exportation, directly or indirectly, of financial services to or for the benefit of MOGE or its property or interests in property. These prohibitions will take effect on December 15, 2023.
MOGE is a Burmese state-owned enterprise involved in the extraction, production, and distribution of oil and gas in Burma and administers large offshore oil and gas fields through lucrative joint ventures with foreign entities. MOGE was previously designated by the European Union on February 21, 2022, and remains the largest single source of foreign revenue for Burma’s military regime, providing hundreds of millions of dollars each year. OFAC’s action today builds on previous designation actions against MOGE leadership and seeks to further restrict the regime’s access to U.S. dollars, which it uses to procure weapons and other equipment from abroad. This action will limit the regime’s ability to carry out violent attacks against its own citizens.
SUPPORTERS OF BURMA’S MILITARY REGIME
Today’s action targets three entities who have assisted the military regime in its continued importation of arms, dual-use goods, and other materials, including from sanctioned entities in Russia and other countries. Since the coup, the total value of imports by the Burmese military is estimated to exceed $1 billion. These imports have facilitated the military regime’s ongoing brutality against on the people of Burma. OFAC’s actions today further align our measures with partners and allies to disrupt the regime’s military supply chain, complicate its ability to maintain and repair its weapons, and reduce the regime’s access to imported arms and materiel.
Sky Royal Hero Company Limited is a Burmese entity which contracted repair work from sanctioned Russian entities and has a known relationship with the Burmese defense procurement company, Sky Aviator Company Limited. Sky Aviator Company Limited was designated by OFAC on November 8, 2022 for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy.
Sky Royal Hero Company Limited is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy.
Suntac Technologies Company Limited and Suntac International Trading Company Limited are both part of Sit Taing Aung’s Suntac Group of Companies. Sit Taing Aung, who has close ties to the Burmese military, uses his companies to supply equipment and material to the army, and was designated by OFAC on March 25, 2022, for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy.
Suntac Technologies Company Limited and Suntac International Trading Company Limited are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Sit Taing Aung.
Sky Royal Hero Company Limited, Suntac Technologies Company Limited and Suntac International Trading Company Limited are also concurrently being designated by Canada today.
BURMA REGIME OFFICIALS
Following the February 2021 coup, the Burma military regime appointed new officials and officers throughout the government. In their roles, these individuals and others constitute part of the military regime that seized power and overthrew democratically elected leaders in Burma. Today’s action targets five such military regime appointed officials and officers.
Charlie Than was appointed as the Union Minister of the Ministry of Industry in May 2021. Kan Zaw has been the Union Minister of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations since August 2022.Swe Swe Aung was appointed as the Director General of the Prosecution of Department, Ministry of Legal affairs on March 31, 2022. Zaw Min was appointed as the Director General of the Prison Department, Ministry of Home affairs on February 4, 2021. Under his leadership, detainees in Burma’s prisons have been subject to torture, beating, and other inhumane treatment. All four of these individuals were appointed directly by Min Aung Hlaing’s State Administration Council and have been sanctioned by the European Union.
Charlie Than, Kan Zaw, Swe Swe Aung, and Zaw Min are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being leaders or officials of the Government of Burma on or after February 2, 2021.
Additionally, Maung Maung Aye has been the Chief of General Staff for the Burmese Army, Navy, and Air Force since February 2021. In this role, he holds the third most senior position in the Burmese military. Maung Maung Aye is being sanctioned by Canada today and has been sanctioned by the European Union.
Maung Maung Aye is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14014 for being a leader or official of the military or security forces of Burma, or successor entity to any of the foregoing.
As a result of today’s designations pursuant to E.O. 14014, all property and interests in property of the three entities and five individuals 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.
Separately, on or after December 15, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing, exporting, or reexporting, directly or indirectly, financial services to or for the benefit of MOGE or its property or interests in property.
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.
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