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US, UK, Canada Announce New Myanmar Sanctions

The U.S., the U.K. and Canada issued new sanctions this week against Myanmar, targeting various entities and officials with ties to the country’s military regime and its purchase of weapons.

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The Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a new directive that prohibits certain financial services involving the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the “largest single source of foreign revenue” for Myanmar’s military regime. OFAC also designated three entities and five people connected to the country’s military.

The new directive, effective Dec. 15, prohibits U.S. people and companies from providing, exporting or reexporting financial services to “or for the benefit” of MOGE or its property or interests in property. In new frequently asked questions, OFAC said the directive also applies to entities with 50% or more MOGE ownership and said it defines “financial services” to include loans, transfers, accounts, insurance, investments, securities, guarantees, foreign exchange, letters of credit and commodity futures or options.

OFAC also sanctioned three companies that have helped the military import weapons, dual-use goods and other items, including from sanctioned entities in Russia and other countries: Sky Royal Hero Company Limited, which contracted “repair work” from sanctioned Russian entities, and Suntac Technologies Company Limited and Suntac International Trading Company Limited, which both supply equipment and material to Myanmar’s military.

The agency also designated several government officials, including Charlie Than, Ministry of Industry union minister; Kan Zaw, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations union minister; Swe Swe Aung, a Ministry of Legal Affairs director general; Zaw Min, Prison Department director general; and Maung Maung Aye, chief of general staff for the Myanmar army, navy and air force.

The U.K. sanctioned five people and one entity, the International Group of Entrepreneur Services Company Limited, which has helped to repress Myanmar civilians “through making available funds or other economic resources to the Myanmar security force,” the U.K. said. The country also sanctioned Htoo Htet Tay Za, Kyaw Min Oo, Myo Thitsar, Pye Phyo Tay Za, Sit Taing Aung, who have all helped supply “restricted goods and/or restricted technology” to the military.

Canada sanctioned 61 people and entities for similar reasons, including various Myanmar government officials and companies that have either supplied the military regime with arms, resources and revenue or for being responsible for “democratic reversals, leading to international humanitarian and human rights law violations.” The country also expanded its prohibition on the sale of aviation fuel to also include a ban on providing shipping insurance for the transportation of aviation fuel to Myanmar.