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March 25, 2021: OFAC sanctions 2 entities, removes 1 entity and updates 2 listings under Burma program

Yesterday, OFAC added the following 2 entities:

MYANMA ECONOMIC HOLDINGS PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED (a.k.a. MYANMAR ECONOMIC HOLDING LIMITED; a.k.a. “MEHL”), 51*Mahabandoola Road 189/191, Botataung, Rangoon 11161, Burma; Registration Number 156387282 (Burma) [BURMA-EO14014]. 
 
MYANMAR ECONOMIC CORPORATION LIMITED (a.k.a. MYANMAR ECONOMIC CORPORATION; a.k.a. “MEC”), Corner of Ahlone Road & Kannar Road, Ahlone Township, Rangoon, Burma; Registration Number 105444192 (Burma) [BURMA-EO14014]. 

to its Burma sanctions program, removed the following one:

33RD LIGHT INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE BURMESE ARMY, Sagaing, Burma [BURMA-EO14014]. 

and updated 2 existing listings:

33RD LIGHT INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE BURMESE ARMY, Sagaing, Burma [GLOMAG]. -to- 33RD LIGHT INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE BURMESE ARMY, Sagaing, Burma [GLOMAG] [BURMA-EO14014]. 
 
HASSAN, Abu Yasir (a.k.a. “HASSAN, Yaseer”; a.k.a. “QASIM, Abu”), Pwani Region, Tanzania; Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique; DOB 1981 to 1983; nationality Tanzania; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT]. -to- HASSAN, Abu Yasir (a.k.a. “HASSAN, Yaseer”; a.k.a. “QASIM, Abu”), Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique; DOB 1981 to 1983; POB Pwani Region, Tanzania; nationality Tanzania; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT]. 

On top of that, they issued 4 General Licenses:

  1. General License 1 “Official Business of the United States Government”
  2. General License 2 “Official Activities of Certain International Organizations and Other International Entities”
  3. General License 3 “Certain Transactions in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations’ Activities”
  4. General License 4 “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions involving Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited and Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited”
and published 2 new Frequently Asked Questions:
882. For purposes of Burma General License (GL) 2, what organizations are included within the United Nations’ “Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as its Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations?”
Answer

For an organizational chart of the United Nations, which lists the Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as the Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations covered by this GL, see the following page on the United Nations website:  https://www.un.org/en/pdfs/un_system_chart.pdf.

883. What does Burma General License 4 authorize?
Answer

Burma General License (GL) 4authorizes, subject to certain conditions, all transactions and activities prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 14014, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving, directly or indirectly, Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC) or Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL), or any entity in which MEC or MEHL owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time, June 22, 2021.  Persons unable to wind down transactions prohibited by E.O. 14014 in which such blocked persons have an interest before that time are encouraged to seek formal guidance from OFAC.  

For the duration of GL 4, non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions involving, directly or indirectly, MEC or MEHL, or any entity in which MEC or MEHL owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 14014, provided that such wind down activity is consistent with GL 4.  

While GL 4 is in effect, wind down transactions may be processed through the U.S. financial system or involve U.S. persons, as long as the transactions comply with the terms and conditions in GL 4.

And press releases were issued by the Treasury Department:

PRESS RELEASES

Treasury Sanctions Military Holding Companies in Burma

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two military holding companies, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).  The Burmese military controls significant segments of the country’s economy through these holding firms, which enjoy a privileged position in the Burmese economy.  The companies dominate certain sectors of the economy, including trading, natural resources, alcohol, cigarettes, and consumer goods.  These sanctions specifically target the economic resources of Burma’s military regime, which is responsible for the overthrow of Burma’s democratically elected government and the ongoing repression of the Burmese people.  These sanctions are not directed at the people of Burma.

“The United States stands with the people of Burma and urges a return to its democratically elected government,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki.  “By designating MEC and MEHL, Treasury is targeting the Burmese military’s control of significant segments of the Burmese economy, which is a vital financial lifeline for the military junta.”

MEHL and MEC are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14014, “Blocking Property With Respect to the Situation in Burma,” for being owned or controlled by the military or security forces of Burma.

MYANMA ECONOMIC HOLDINGS PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED

MEHL is a vast and secretive military conglomerate; it has business interests spanning the Burmese economy, from banking, trade, logistics, construction, and mining to tourism, agriculture, tobacco, food, and beverage.  MEHL’s shareholder data show that profits are systematically distributed to Burma’s military, including to those responsible for widespread human rights abuses.  MEHL also has 1,793 institutional shareholders, which include regional military commands and subordinate battalions, divisions, platoons, squadrons, and border guard forces.  Shares are distributed across the armed forces with no public accountability, creating secret slush funds that the military uses to augment its operational budget.

MYANMAR ECONOMIC CORPORATION LIMITED

MEC was established in 1997 with the declared objectives of contributing to Burma’s economy, fulfilling the needs of the military, reducing defense spending, and ensuring the welfare of military personnel.  Today, MEC is a holding company with businesses in the mining, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors, as well as companies that supply natural resources to the military, and operate factories producing goods for use by the military.  MEC is led by Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, whom OFAC designated on December 10, 2019, pursuant to E.O. 13818 in connection with serious human rights abuses, and pursuant to E.O. 14014 on February 11, 2021, in connection with his role in leading the February 1, 2021 coup.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action pursuant to E.O. 14014, all property and interests in property of the entities 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.

Concurrent with these designations, OFAC is issuing four general licenses and related FAQs.  Specifically, OFAC is issuing General License 1, “Official Business of the United States Government”; General License 2, “Official Activities of Certain Other International Entities”; General License 3, “Certain Transactions in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations’ Activities”; and General License 4, “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Myanmar Economic Corporation and Myanma Economic Holdings Limited.” 

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.

and State Department:

Members of the Burmese military have taken increasingly disturbing actions aimed at their own citizens since February 1.  In response to the military’s refusal to disavow the coup and continuing violence against peaceful protestors, today the United States is taking its most significant action to date to impose costs on the military regime.  The United States is designating two entities linked to the coup leaders, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).  MEHL and MEC are the two largest military holding companies in Burma, and all shares in them are held and managed by current or former Burmese military officers, regiments, and units, and organizations led by former service members. These actions will specifically target those who led the coup, the economic interests of the military, and the funding streams supporting the Burmese military’s brutal repression.  They are not directed at the people of Burma.

We are taking this step alongside the United Kingdom, which is announcing a similar action on MEHL today.  The UK has been a close partner in our response to the coup.  By designating these entities, the United States and the UK have shown that we will follow through on our pledges to promote accountability for the coup and the abhorrent violence and other abuses we have seen in recent weeks.  In close collaboration with the UK, Canada, and other allies and partners, we continue to call on the military to cease all violence against the people of Burma, release all detainees and halt future arrests, lift martial law and the nationwide state of emergency, remove telecommunications restrictions, and restore the democratically elected government.

The United States will continue to work with partners throughout the region and the world to press the Burmese military and police to cease all violence against peaceful protestors, to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Burma, and to urge for the immediate release of political prisoners.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Press Releases – State, Treasury

United Nations Organization Chart (for General License 2)

Categories: Burma Sanctions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Licenses OFAC Updates Sanctions Lists

eric9to5

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