U.S. imposes sanctions on Myanmar military leader’s children, companies

People participate in a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar.

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on two children of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing and six companies they control, increasing pressure on the military as it continues its crackdown against protesters in the wake of the army’s February 1 coup.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement it blacklisted Aung Pyae Sone and Khin Thiri Thet Mon, targeting the family of Myanmar’s commander in chief who led the coup on February 1 and installed himself as head of the ruling State Administration Council.

Wednesday’s action was taken in response to the coup and intensified crackdown on peaceful protesters who oppose the takeover that overthrew elected officials, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a national election in November.

“The indiscriminate violence by Burma’s security forces against peaceful protesters is unacceptable,” Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea Gacki, said in the statement.

“The United States will continue to work with our international partners to press the Burmese military and police to cease all violence against peaceful protesters and to restore democracy and the rule of law in Burma,” she added.

Campaign group Justice for Myanmar said in January that Min Aung Hlaing, who has been commander in chief since 2011, has “abused his power to benefit his family, who have profited from their access to state resources and the military’s total impunity.” The group named six companies they said were owned or controlled by the general’s two children.

They include A&M Mahar, through which Aung Pyae Sone, the general’s son, offers foreign pharmaceutical companies access to Myanmar’s market by obtaining approvals from Myanmar’s Food and Drug Administration, according to Justice for Myanmar.

Also blacklisted were a construction company and a restaurant and gallery, and a luxury gym chain and media production business owned by the general’s daughter, Khin Thiri Thet Mon.

Wednesday’s move – the latest in a series of punitive actions taken by Washington against Myanmar’s military over the coup – essentially freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

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