Sanctions concerns deterring banks from writing trade finance business with Myanmar

Concerns over sanctions are causing international banks to stop writing trade finance business for Myanmar as it attempts to re-establish trade ties with the rest of the world according to the Reuters news agency.

It says banks are cutting trade finance after discovering that a businessman blacklisted under US sanctions controls the main terminal in Myanmar’s busiest port.

Bank withdrawals

The news agency says that US exports to Myanmar have slowed significantly over recent months after major banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC and PNC Financial curtailed their trade financing activities with the South-east Asian country.

Quoting sanctions lawyers and other people familiar with the matter, Reuters says that

Citigroup initially noticed in June that Stephen Law controls facilities at the Port of Yangon, and the bank subsequently passed this information on to other financial institutions.

Politically connected

Law, who goes under two-dozen or more aliases, is listed by the US’ Office of Foreign Assets Control, which claims the businessman has a long-standing involvement in the drugs trade and close ties to Myanmar’s military elite.

The EU and the US started lifting economic sanctions on Myanmar in 2012 after it embarked on a programme of political reform after years of military rule.

The full Reuters article can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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