“US planned to sanction disbanded border security force, say activists”

July 23, 2013

Myanmar Times on July 22, 2013 released the following:

“By Bill O’Toole

Human rights groups say a controversial border security force that was disbanded last week was about to be sanctioned by the United States Treasury.

The decision to abolish the force, which is widely referred to as Na Sa Ka and has been accused of human rights abuses, was announced by the President’s Office in a statement on July 14. “It is hereby announced that Border Area Immigration Control Headquarters has been abolished,” the statement said, referring to the group by its official name.

The statement gave no reason for the decision and presidential spokesperson U Ye Htut declined requests for comment.

But human rights groups based both in and outside Myanmar have told The Myanmar Times that US sanctions against the security force were “imminent” and the decision to abolish the force was likely taken to stop the sanctions from being put in place.

“There were plans afoot in Washington to list the Na Sa Ka on the [Specially Designated Nationals] list maintained by the US Department of the Treasury,” said Phil Robertson, the Bangkok-based Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

“A decision on that was imminent and obviously Burmese leaders in Nay Pyi Taw learned about this and decided to cut their losses by scrapping the unit,” he said, adding that he had been told this by people “in the know” in Washington.

Matt Smith of Fortify Rights International said he was not absolutely certain what the US was planning but agreed that “Na Sa Ka was being looked at closely by the US Treasury due to its abusive record, and was on the verge of being sanctioned”.

“This and other factors undoubtedly influenced Thein Sein’s decision,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Treasury said he could not comment on possible Treasury actions.

Andrew Leahy, a public affairs officer at the US embassy in Yangon, also declined to comment on Treasury operations.

He did say, however, that “sanctions are certainly designed to hold people accountable. The reason they’re in place is to target people who hinder the reform process.”

The allegations raise the question of how the President’s Office learned of the planned sanctions.

In Washington, however, activists say the impending sanctions were relatively common knowledge. In February, rights groups pushed for the sanctioning of controversial government bodies like Na Sa Ka at a Congressional hearing on Myanmar.

“We know this was the discussion because we’ve been pushing sanctions for the Na Sa Ka and regional commanders [to the US Treasury Department],” said Jennifer Quigley, the Washington-based executive director of US Campaign for Burma.

As the recent decision to sanction Lieutenant General Thein Htay for his involvement in arms deals with North Korea shows, the US is more than willing to add new entities to its targeted SDN list even as it allows US companies to invest in and trade with Myanmar.

Na Sa Ka was a unique organisation that brought together officials from the departments of immigration and customs, as well as members of the military.

Its mandate was limited to securing the border with Bangladesh in northern Rakhine State.

Over the past year and a half, the 1200-strong force was implicated in communal violence in Rakhine State, particularly the persecution and exploitation of the Muslim Rohingya, who are commonly referred to as Bengalis in Myanmar.

Ms Quigley described Na Sa Ka as the most “violent and corrupt” armed body in Myanmar.

While sanctions against specific commanders are still possible under US law, several sources said they were concerned that the move to abolish the force would protect the Na Sa Ka from investigation for the alleged rights violations.

“U Thein Sein’s decision was based on … trying to short-circuit investigations of what the Na Sa Ka has done” and limiting public relations damage before his European trip, Mr Robertson said.

The 1200 members of Na Sa Ka have returned to their original organisations and a battalion of police have assumed the group’s duties along the border and at various checkpoints in northern Rakhine State.

It is not clear if the police will permanently take on this role and rights advocates expressed scepticism that the decision to abolish Na Sa Ka would lead to any improvements in the human rights situation in northern Rakhine State.

“In the absence of accountability, there is nothing to prevent the next security force from simply replicating Na Sa Ka’s abusive ways,” Mr Smith said.

Sittwe resident U Aung Win said he had not heard any reports of the police battalion engaging in the exploitation that Na Sa Ka was notorious for.

He said the most people were “very happy” to see Na Sa Ka disbanded, regardless of the motives behind the decision.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpin [SDNTK] Entries Removed from OFAC’s SDN List on August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012

Today, OFAC has removed [SDNTK] Entries from the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List):

The following [SDNTK] entries have been removed:

AGROPECUARIA LA CRUZ S.A., Calle 137 No. 88-76 Int. 2 Apto. 143, Bogota, Colombia; NIT # 813004216-1 (Colombia) [SDNTK].

CRIADERO LAS CABANAS LTDA., Calle 137 No. 88-76 Int. 2 Apto. 143, Bogota, Colombia; NIT # 816005110-5 (Colombia) [SDNTK].

MARTINEZ GALINDO, Alicia (a.k.a. MARTINEZ, Alicia), c/o AMG RICAS PIZZA, Bogota, Colombia; DOB 26 Mar 1948; Cedula No. 41386662 (Colombia) (individual) [SDNTK].

MARTINEZ, Alicia (a.k.a. MARTINEZ GALINDO, Alicia), c/o AMG RICAS PIZZA, Bogota, Colombia; DOB 26 Mar 1948; Cedula No. 41386662 (Colombia) (individual) [SDNTK].

SARABIA DIAZ, Carlos Cristino, Calle Dalia No. 37, Colonia Aguaruto, Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico; c/o TOYS FACTORY, S.A. DE C.V., Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico; c/o COMERCIAL JOANA, S.A. DE C.V., Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico; c/o COMERCIALIZADORA BRIMAR’S, S.A. DE. C.V., Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico; c/o COMERCIAL DOMELY, S.A. DE C.V., Toluca, Mexico, Mexico; DOB 24 Jul 1971; POB Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico; nationality Mexico; citizen Mexico; R.F.C. SADC710724I71 (Mexico); C.U.R.P. SADC710724HSLRZR03 (Mexico) (individual) [SDNTK].

TARAZONA ENCISO, Nestor Alonso, c/o AGROPECUARIA LA CRUZ S.A., Bogota, Colombia; c/o CRIADERO LAS CABANAS LTDA., Bogota, Colombia; Calle 137 No. 52-37, Rincon Iberia, Bogota, Colombia; San Martin, Meta, Colombia; DOB 13 Jun 1965; Cedula No. 79344969 (Colombia) (individual) [SDNTK].

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
OFAC SDN Removal Videos:

OFAC Litigation – SDN List Removal

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OFAC SDN Removal Attorneys

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Viktor Bout associates exploited flaws in international law, UN study finds

July 18, 2012

The Guardian on July 17, 2012 released the following:

“Two of the convicted arms dealer’s lieutenants nearly set up fresh gunrunning ring despite being under government watch

[By] Karen McVeigh in New York

Former associates of convicted international arms dealer Viktor Bout exploited loopholes to set up a global trafficking ring with their sights set on selling weapons to war-torn countries like Sudan, Somalia, Iran and possibly Syria, an investigation has revealed.

The report, by Kathi Lynn Austin, a former UN arms investigator and executive director of Conflict Awareness Project (Cap) shows how close two of Bout’s lieutenants came to establishing a fresh gunrunning network in the wake of his conviction last year, despite being under US government watch or subject to US sanctions.

At a press conference on Tuesday at the UN in New York, where representatives from 190 countries are midway through negotiations over the first Arms Trade Treaty, Austin said: “These brokers go to extreme lengths to reap profits form conflict, atrocity and UN sanctions-busting. As we speak, gunrunners are out there exploiting every loophole in a global arms trade that is out of control.”

The six-week investigation describes how “classic techniques” of illicit arms brokers were used including flags of convenience, money laundering and establishing multiple layers of “shell companies” to evade detection and accountability.

The investigation also uncovered new techniques, including a switch away from a previous reliance on aging Russian aircraft to predominately western passenger planes.

The men at the heart of the investigation are two Russians, Sergei Denisenko and Andrei Kosolapov, former associates of Bout, whose gunrunning networks enabled the flow of arms into African conflict including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Sudan.

It shows how, even with Bout in prison and US sanctions against them, they were able to circumvent laws and set up US business partners. Denisenko is on the US Special Designated Nationals (SDN) List enforced by the department of treasury, because of his past trafficking activities in Liberia, according to the report.

His SDN listing prohibits US companied dealing with him. Kosolapov is on the US Visas Viper list, a watch list used internationally by the state department to track known or suspected terrorists, according to the report titled Viktor Bout’s Gunrunning Sucessors: A Lethal Game of Catch Me if you Can.

Their plan was to lease a US-registered plane that could be used for arms transfers while flying under a Mauritian aviation certificate.

The report found that the Denisenko-Kosolapov partnership engaged a number of subcompanies and business partners including US, UK, Finnish and Mauritian companies.

One aircraft was located in Bangor, Maine. Human rights advocacy group Human Rights First said the report demonstrated gaps in implementation and enforcement of US sanction regimes.

Sadia Hameed, of Human Rights First, said: “Countries that may have more robust regulations, like the United States, are still unable to singlehandedly prevent illicit arms trafficking operations.”

She said more could have been done by the US to share information with their embassy in Mauritius about Denisenkio and Kosolapov and that it should do more to ensure SDN guidelines are followed by US companies.

“The fact that through Kathi Lynn Austin’s investigations she was able to uncover that they very nearly aquired a US-registered plane and that that plane was intended to service whatever the forward activities of the network were, points out gaps in due diligence of sanctions.”

A US company illegally provided parts and maintenance for the aircraft leased by the pair, according to the report and US pilots were lined up to fly it, which is also illegal.

In early July, the Mauritius Department of Civil Aviation denied the Denisenko-Kosalopov operations application for an Air Operation Certificate – which any plane needs to be able to fly, effectively stopping the operation.

“The multi-jurisdictional nature of arms trafficking rings is why we need a strong arms control, “said Austin. “The Mauritian government said, ‘How were we to know that this US individual was on a designated list?’ A strong arms control treaty would identify who the criminals are and who the traders are.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the US treasury department said: “Sergei (or Serguei) Denissenko was sanctioned by OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) for being involved in two of Bout’s front companies – San Air General Trading FZE (Ajman, UAE; Richardson, Texas) and also with Centrafricain Airlines. US firms are prohibited from doing business with him as with any other sanctioned parties. OFAC does not have an Andrei Kosolapov on its SDN list.”

Campaigners for arms control expressed concern that, after an opening week characterised by delays, international delegates still do not have the basis for negotiations on most of the key elements of the treaty. The optimistic view is that there will be a negotiating text by Wednesday.

The Arms Trade Treaty faces opposition from Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Iran, Cuba and North Korea. However, Russia, China, the UK, France and the US have issued some joint statements in support. The US would like to see ammunition removed from the treaty and wants to water down the rule on human rights.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
OFAC SDN Removal Videos:

OFAC Litigation – SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN Removal Attorneys

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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