US tightens financial sanctions

Feb 6, 2008 (DVB), The US Treasury yesterday strengthened sanctions targeting the financial network of junta-linked Burmese business tycoon Tay Za and family members of the regime's leaders.

Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement released yesterday that the US would continue to use sanctions to target the military regime.

"We are tightening financial sanctions against Tay Za, an arms dealer and financial henchman of Burma’s repressive junta," Szubin said.

"The President has made clear that we will continue to take action against the military junta and those who prop it up so long as human rights violations continue and democracy is suppressed."

In its latest move, OFAC has designated seven individuals and four business entities, which means that any assets they have within US jurisdiction will be frozen and US citizens are prohibited from doing business with them.

Among those designated is Tay Za's Htoo Group of Companies, which has been involved in military procurement on behalf of the junta.

White House spokesperson Dana Perino said that the sanctions were intended to pressure the Burmese regime into making more progress towards democratic reform.

"We do know that sanctions can have an impact, and they help curtail economic activity and can further isolate the junta, which is part of getting them to recognize that they need to open up and allow the democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to be able to meet with the leaders that they said that they would allow her to do," Perino said in a press briefing yesterday.

This is the third Treasury action against the Burmese regime since it began its military crackdown on protestors in September last year.

Reporting by Si√¢n Thomas

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