NUG announces blacklist of business owners allegedly supporting military through arms trade
The underground National Unity Government (NUG) blacklisted nine business owners and their companies for allegedly aiding the military council in committing war crimes.
The NUG’s Ministry of Commerce released a statement on Tuesday claiming that the businessmen in question had been using their companies as a front to broker arms deals for the junta.
Among those named on the blacklist were Aye Ko, owner of multiple hotels and the AK Construction and Industry Co; Naing Htut Aung and the International Gateway group of companies; Dr Aung Moe Myint and the Dynasty group; Sit Taing Aung and the Suntac group and Yadanarpon Aviation Support Co; and Htun Hlaing and his STE Global Trading Co.
Also on the list were Tay Za and his Htoo Group of companies; Jonathan Kyaw Thaung and his KT and Ky-Tha group; Aung Hlaing Oo and his Myanmar Chemical and Machinery (MCM) group; and Zaw Win Oo and his Trident Marine Co.
Members of the public are urged to avoid buying or distributing products made by the companies, using their services, or collaborating or engaging in transactions with the entities.
“Anyone who conducts business with said companies shall be considered an accessory to the military’s war crimes,” the NUG’s statement said.
Further details on the individuals and their enterprises were not included in the statements, but many were also listed in a September 2021 report by activist group Justice for Myanmar (JFM) that exposed junta-affiliated businesses. At that time, they were accused of brokering weapons deals for the army.
The US and EU have introduced targeted sanctions against businesses connected to Myanmar army generals. In September, the UK put sanctions in place against Tay Za and the Htoo Group for connections to current and past military leadership and providing weapons to the coup regime.
JFM alleged that Tay Za, Aung Hlaing Oo, Naing Htut Aung, Sitt Taing Aung and Zaw Win Oo had been purchasing weapons for the military council from Ukraine.
The group pointed to Aung Hlaing Oo as the primary arms broker, stating that his MCM company was involved in a collaborative project between the Myanmar army and two Ukrainian state-owned companies to produce mortars and tanks.
“He is a big arms broker who has been constantly doing business with the military. He had even helped [the military] import stuff from North Korea in the past,” another businessman told Myanmar Now in September.
Another blacklisted individual, Naing Htut Aung, is a shareholder and former director of Myanmar Consultancy, a company accused of having bought aircraft monitoring systems and both missile and jet equipment from Ukraine for the Myanmar military from 2016 until 2020.
Trident Marine, of which Zaw Min Oo is a director, has been linked to 2019 imports of ships to the military from Ukraine.
Suntac group of companies was once hit with EU sanctions due to its military affiliations; its current owner, Sit Taing Aung is the son of Aung Bhone, the former forestry minister during a previous military administration. Sit Taing Aung is also a known arms broker and the honorary consul representing Myanmar in Mexico.