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Major banks face scrutiny over business with Myanmar military owned bank

Major international banks, including Australia’s ANZ, have continued to do business with a bank owned by Myanmar’s military administration despite its violent crackdown on anti-government protestors, according to an advocacy group and leaked documents.

ANZ, one of Australia’s “big four” banks, was used by Hong Kong-based insurer AIA to transfer funds to accounts operated by Innwa Bank, which is owned by military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), in August and September 2021, Justice for Myanmar said, citing leaked bank documents.

Singapore’s UOB, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest banks, facilitated transactions between a Chinese shipping firm and MEC in June and July last year, according to the report.

The leaked Innwa Bank documents were obtained and published online by Distributed Denial of Secrets, a self-described transparency collective that regularly releases information hacked from governments and businesses.

An ANZ spokesperson said the bank had “no commercial relationship” with Innwa Bank.

“ANZ must comply with all applicable laws in all of the jurisdictions in which it operates, including requirements of supra-national organisations, such as the United Nations and European Union,” the spokesperson told Al Jazeera.

In April 2021, Sri Lanka was also met with widespread protests and condemnation as a result of its invitation to Myanmar's military junta to the 5th Bay of Bengal Initiative of the Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) summit, that was being held on the island. 

Read more at Al Jazeera


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