Connect with us

Myanmar

UN Report: 16 banks facilitated Myanmar Junta’s US$630M military procurement in past 2 years

A recent UN report identifies 16 banks across 7 countries that facilitated US$630M in Myanmar junta’s military procurement. Banks in Singapore, including branches of non-Singaporean banks, processed over US$260M in FY2022. However, by FY2023, this figure dropped to over US$40M.

Published

on

GENEVA: Foreign banks are playing a critical role in facilitating the Myanmar military junta’s access to weapons, enabling the regime’s continued violence and brutality against its citizens, according to a new report by Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

The report, titled Banking on the Death Trade: How Banks and Governments Enable the Military Junta in Myanmar, identifies 16 banks across seven countries that have processed transactions linked to the junta’s military procurement over the past two years.

Singaporean financial institutions, including DBS, OCBC, and UOB, are named in the report for their involvement in processing transactions linked to the junta’s procurement efforts.

Source: UN Special Rapporteur report

Additionally, 25 banks have provided correspondent banking services to Myanmar’s state-owned banks controlled by the junta.

“By relying on financial institutions willing to do business with Myanmar state-owned banks under its control, the junta has ready access to the financial services it needs to carry out systematic human rights violations, including aerial attacks on civilians,” said Andrews.

He emphasized that international banks facilitating transactions with Myanmar state-owned banks are at high risk of enabling military attacks on civilians.

“Banks have a fundamental obligation to not facilitate crimes – and this includes war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he urged.

The report highlights a significant decrease in the Myanmar military’s annual procurement of weapons and military supplies through formal banking channels, from US$377 million in the year ending March 2023 to US$253 million in the subsequent year. This indicates the growing isolation of the junta.

However, Andrews warns that the junta is evading sanctions and other measures by exploiting gaps in sanctions regimes, shifting financial institutions, and taking advantage of the lack of coordinated and enforced actions by member states.

The report points out a dramatic shift in the roles of two ASEAN countries in supplying weapons and military supplies to the junta.

Weapon exports from Singapore to Myanmar drop 90%

Following a report last year, Singapore, identified as Myanmar’s third-largest source of weapons, launched an investigation into the involved entities.

Source: UN Special Rapporteur report

As a result, exports of weapon materials from Singapore-registered companies to Myanmar plummeted by nearly 90%, dropping from over US$110 million to just over US$10 million.

In FY2022, Singapore-based banks facilitated over 70% of the junta’s purchases through the formal banking system. By FY2023, this percentage had fallen to under 20%, with the majority of purchases occurring in the first quarter of FY2023.

Individuals and networks previously supplying weapons and related materials to the Myanmar State Administration Council (SAC) from Singapore have registered new companies in Thailand, according to evidence reviewed by the Special Rapporteur.

In a striking example, in 2023, Thailand-registered companies became the SAC’s source for spare parts for its Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters that Singapore-registered companies provided previously.

The SAC uses these helicopters to transport soldiers and conduct airstrikes on civilian targets, such as the April 2023 attack on Pazigyi village in Sagaing Region that killed approximately 170 people, including 40 children.

Report: Singapore banks key in Myanmar’s military procurement, processing over US$260M in FY2022

Despite banks’ efforts to conduct due diligence, the Special Rapporteur found that the Myanmar junta successfully evaded sanctions and continued importing military supplies through state-owned banks.

The data revealed in the report is striking: From FY2022 to FY2023, 16 banks across seven countries facilitated purchases totalling US$630 million in weapons, dual-use technology, manufacturing equipment, and raw materials for entities linked to the SAC’s Ministry of Defence.

The report highlights a significant change from FY2022 to FY2023.

In FY2022, banks in Singapore, including branches of non-Singaporean banks, were key facilitators of Myanmar’s military procurement, processing over US$260 million (more than 70%).

By FY2023, this amount dropped sharply to over US$40 million (less than 20%), primarily occurring in the first quarter of the fiscal year preceding the release of “The Billion Dollar Death Trade.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) facilitated over US$180 million in military procurement in FY2022 but none in FY2023.

In addition to Singapore, there were declines in military procurement facilitated by Russian, Malaysian, and South Korean financial institutions.

Russian banks saw a decrease from over US$25 million in FY2022 to less than US$10 million in FY2023.

Malaysian banks reduced their facilitation from over US$5 million to less than US$1 million, and South Korean banks dropped from less than US$1 million to zero in FY2023.

Banks like DBS emphasized compliance with sanctions and efforts to block payments linked to Myanmar’s military, highlighting ongoing concerns about facilitating transactions with Myanmar’s state-owned banks under SAC control.

Andrews highlighted Singapore’s example as proof that a government with sufficient political will can significantly impact shutting down the Myanmar death trade.

He urged Thailand to follow this example to severely impair the junta’s capacity to sustain its escalating attacks on civilian targets.

“Over 5,000 civilians have been killed by the junta since the coup, at least three million people are displaced, and more than 20,000 political prisoners remain incarcerated in Myanmar. Military airstrikes against civilian targets have increased five-fold over the last six months,” Andrews noted.

He called for financial institutions to take their human rights obligations seriously and for states to fully coordinate their actions, including closing loopholes in sanctions regimes.

“Sanctioning governments should target the networks supplying jet fuel to the junta and Myanma Economic Bank, which has become the junta’s go-to bank.”

APHR raises concerns Over Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia accused of facilitating funds and weapons to Myanmar Junta

Responding to the new UN report, Danniel Manuel, a member of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and a Philippine parliamentarian, raised serious concerns about its findings.

The report names at least three ASEAN member states—Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia—as allowing money and weapons to flow to the illegal Myanmar junta.

Manuel expressed relief over Singapore’s recent actions to curb the transfer of weapons to the junta. However, he noted that the junta has circumvented these efforts by importing weapons and using banks in Thailand instead.

“We urge the governments of Thailand, Malaysia, and other ASEAN member states to pay attention to and take lessons from Singapore’s example, and implement a clear policy to restrict the sale of weapons to the Myanmar junta,” Manuel said.

He emphasized the need for financial institutions in these countries to sever ties with Myanmar’s four state-owned banks.

“Likewise, they must ensure that the financial institutions located in their respective countries terminate all relationships with Myanmar’s four state-owned banks. We also call on our fellow parliamentarians in the region to push for these steps to be taken.”

“ASEAN’s efforts to resolve the conflict in Myanmar cannot be taken seriously if ASEAN member states are helping to arm and fund the murderous Myanmar junta, which has already killed thousands of its own people and continues to indiscriminately attack the civilian population,” he said.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
19 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
19 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So where the fuxk is the “A15 group, representing a global initiative across 50 cities worldwide” that voiced against arm trades to oppressive regimes? Suddenly suffered a punctual tire (lou hong), hor? Or seemingly pops its obscure head only when it concerns anything with Israel/Jews. Didn’t it cited that SG had about 170m dealing with Israeli-linked firms on armament and/or research over 5 years; yet now we see SG had 260+m to Myanmar regime in ONE year. No sound from A15. A15 and its supporters are such a fuxking joke to call themselves a “global initiative”, hor. At least Greta… Read more »

🇺🇸 Protect money laundered for the people.
PAP Administration concealed, protect banks launder money.
USA go after briberies, after politicians.
PAP Administration, used Singapore Govt Services, – meant to serve people – to protect their Politicians.

Singaporeans BETTER WISE UP to ACT on the differences, to DECIDE their VOTES for whom, for WHAT PAP says and Acts, OR for Opposition to fake democracy PAP – to Vote for WP, SDP, PSP, RDP, PP?? For the sake of SG future your children and grandchildren, WAKE UP.

Aiya Terry: More Important News Breaking:
Lee Hsien Loong is being Deepfaked, Got Video on Tik Tok.
20 years he has been deepfaking Nobody Do Video.
Now he SM, they do video. Very Daring Already.

The only reason why the SG garmen mentioned this finding earlier this week on MSM is because of the UN report – hence the usual must-save-face-when-caught-red-handed. If it wasn’t the UN report, SG garmen will continue to act blur. Arm sales help our GDP, hor.

How many of the Junta’s kakis and relatives parked their money here no body know.

Think lots of blood money may be parked in the regions with SG been a regional hub

They the PAP are using the emperor’s new gown. Crazy enough everyone can see right through their bigotry and arrogance. Money faced pigs.

Why pro-Pal supporters so strong attacking SG dealing of arms with Israeli companies but VERY quiet about SG sales of arms to the Myanmar junta? Such sales had been on-going for past decade, years before the Gaza war, yet no pineapple umbrella march, no university protests, no GBB clowns hanging banners. Selective activism? Or like someone mentioned, the difference is there are no Jews in Myanmar?

SG government has for years been oblivious to the unofficial support given to the junta through the various private companies working in concert with banks in Singapore . Enough is enough,US uncle Sam might have given due warning to SG not to continue with past practices otherwise SG companies and banks with be sanctioned.The atrocities by the junta have to stop.

Wow…just Wow!
Hypocrites of the highest order.
….
This sgov is as corrupt as any …only on a different level.
…..

Fujian Gang, Burmese Gang, J Low Gang. SG bank gangs innocent to take money?

www(.)bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-10-17/myanmar-tycoons-arms-dealer-sanctioned-by-us-finds-shelter-in-singapore?embedded-checkout=true

Dont dig those dirt .

Last edited 13 days ago by Blankslate

PAP Administration is shitty, stinky, corrupted – to the core, ERASING all their show and tell stories to the world. Sadly the world buy – but most of them sell news, nothing about morals bcz buyer pay for news.

The government supports this but arrests 3 activists over a peaceful procession. Shouldn’t all the CEO’s of the various institutions involved in Arms trading be arrested and hauled to court. They have supported the murder and killing of the Myanmar people. They should be hanged as crimes against humanity.

Trending