ANZ, UOB and BIDV transact with Myanmar Army’s Innwa Bank despite sanctions

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According to pressure group Justice for Myanmar, a treasure trove of Innwa Bank records released by Distributed Denial of Secrets reveal dealings with international banks ANZ, UOB and BIDV in Myanmar kyats.

The files include nearly 20,000 records and show that major international banks continued to do business with Innwa Bank after its parent company, Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), was sanctioned by the US, UK and the EU. EU in response to serious human rights violations and atrocities. committed by the junta in their illegal coup attempt.

ANZ is based in Australia and UOB is based in Singapore. The Australian and Singaporean governments refused to sanction MEC, allowing their banks to deal with Innwa Bank.

Innwa Bank is one of two banks controlled by military conglomerates and is used to support the army’s corporate network and pay military salaries.

In 2019, the United Nations Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar found that Innwa Bank played an important role in maintaining the economic interests of the military, by providing military conglomerates, their subsidiaries and their owners access to the international financial system.

Innwa Bank records also provide evidence of MEC’s ​​institutional relationship with the Myanmar military, showing transactions between the military conglomerate and military units, including those in the regional commands responsible for the genocide against the Rohingyas, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

These include payments to Construction Engineering Unit No. (962) Western Command, Construction Engineering Unit No. (961) Northwestern Command and Unit of construction engineering No. (958) of the central command, following the attempted coup of the army.

Innwa Bank’s records include more than 200 transactions with Yoma Bank, a Burmese bank whose investors include Norwegian development finance institution Norfund, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and the Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). world.

Since February 1, 2021, Myanmar’s military junta has waged a war of terror against the people of Myanmar, killing over 2,400 people and arbitrarily arresting over 15,000, according to the Political Prisoners Assistance Association.

More than a million people have been displaced by the junta in its violent attacks, which involve airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling. In recent weeks, junta planes have attacked a concert in Kachin state, killing more than 80 people, bombed a school in Sagaing, killing at least 12 people and beheading a teacher.

These crimes are made possible by the commercial interests of the junta.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung said, “We call on businesses and investors in Myanmar to immediately sever ties with Innwa Bank and all other military companies in Myanmar.

“Innwa Bank allows the Burmese junta to carry out its terrorist acts against the Burmese people and it is inexcusable for ANZ, UOB, BIDV and others to continue doing business with them.

“ANZ, UOB and BIDV must end their relationship with Innwa Bank now or leave Myanmar in accordance with their international human rights responsibilities.

“ANZ’s and UOB’s dealings with MEC are a direct result of the Australian and Singaporean governments’ failure to sanction Myanmar’s illegitimate junta and its conglomerates, which encouraged their banks to do business with Innwa Bank.

“We call on Australia and Singapore to immediately sanction the junta and its companies, including MEC, its directors and the directors of Innwa Bank.

“Doing business with Innwa Bank supports Myanmar’s military, its illegal coup attempt and its ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Even small transactions can help fund international military crimes and enrich war criminals.

“It is shameful that the Norwegian and Singaporean governments and IFC remain invested in Yoma Bank, which does regular business with Innwa Bank. We call on them to use their influence to immediately end Yoma Bank’s business with the Myanmar military or divest.

“The military junta’s campaign of terror is intensifying, amid the inaction of the international community.

“We demand that the UN Security Council impose sanctions on Myanmar’s junta business interests, including Innwa Bank, and a global arms embargo to stop the flow of arms to the junta.”

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