The United States Treasury Department has blacklisted a lower house member of Burma’s parliament, Aung Thaung, who represents the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party for Taungtha Township.
The announcement, on 31 October, comes just days ahead of US President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Burma to participate in the East Asia Summit on 11- 12 November.
In its statement, the US Treasury noted that Aung Thaung had actively attempted to undermine recent economic and political reforms in Burma, officially known as Myanmar, and that he was implicated in previous attacks on Burma’s pro-democratic opposition.
The sanctions will freeze any US-based assets of Aung Thaung and bars US citizens from doing business with him.
The statement said that the sanctions apply to Aung Thaung alone, and not to any government organisation with which he is associated.
Formerly Burma’s minister for industry under the previous ruling military government and widely considered a hardliner, Aung Thaung and his family are among the wealthiest families in the country with have numerous business interests in the country, including building material firms Aung Yee Phyo Company and IGE Company. A license to establish a private bank, United Amara Bank, was granted in his son’s name, Nay Aung, in 2010.