Mines, banks, petroleum, agriculture, tourism: Myanmar’s ruling junta has vested interests in large swathes of the country’s economy, providing it a colossal – and closely guarded – fortune that the United States has targeted with sanctions. After last week’s coup to oust civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi – and the subsequent protest crackdown – calls have grown for international penalties.
On Thursday, the United States slapped sanctions on the country’s top brass. President Joe Biden said his administration was cutting off military leaders’ access to US$1 billion in funds in the US, while the Treasury Department blocked any US assets and transactions with 10 current or former military officials held responsible for the February 1 coup.
But experts believe the army chiefs still have access to enormous wealth from the sprawling conglomerates behind them.