Release: Innwa Bank (49 MB)
Records from the bank owned by the Myanmar military which pays salaries to the armed forces and controls funds for military-owned businesses, helping them to evade international sanctions
We have published nearly 20,000 files from Innwa Bank, which is owned by the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and is used to pay salaries and transfer funds for military officers and units, and military-controlled businesses.
Using these files, Justice for Myanmar has published research about the international companies who are still transacting with the Myanmar coup regime via Innwa Bank.
From Myanmar Now:
The newly released transaction files highlighted payments between Innwa Bank and Australian bank ANZ’s office in Myanmar. They involved the telecommunications tower company edotco, as well as AIA Myanmar Life Insurance. Payments made after the February 2021 military coup ranged from 500,000 to 2.5m kyat (US$237-$1,185).
ANZ Bank continues to do business with Innwa Bank, despite the US, UK and EU sanctions, because Australia has not imposed a single sanction on Myanmar. Hong Kong and Malaysian companies conduct their business with the Myanmar military via ANZ Bank.
According to the Australian, ANZ is the second largest bank in Australia, and possibly the only Western bank with operations in Myanmar:
ANZ’s own sanctions policy prohibits direct or indirect transactions “except in limited and pre-approved circumstances” with Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russian-annexed Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, and commercial transactions with Belarus and Russia. But it makes no mention of Myanmar, where ANZ is believed to be the only Western bank operating on the ground.
ANZ is also one of the largest banks in New Zealand. From New Zealand’s Newsroom report:
A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Newsroom that New Zealand had been clear in its condemnation of the coup in Myanmar, as well as its concerns about human rights violations committed by the regime.
While the Government “would encourage all private companies doing business in Myanmar to consider the reputational risks and their legal obligations”, it had no plans for separate sanctions legislation allowing it to take action against the country.
The NZ government seems to indicate that because they are working to implement sanctions against Russian-linked companies, Myanmar-targeted sanctions are not a priority, telling Newsroom that: “Our focus is on the implementation of the Russia sanction legislation, which is a complex and resource-intensive undertaking.”
The Innwa Bank files also provide evidence of MEC’s institutional relationship with the Myanmar military, showing transactions between the military conglomerate and army units, including those in regional commands responsible for genocide against the Rohingya, and war crimes and crimes against humanity.
According to the Justice for Myanmar analysis, Innwa Bank is used by the Myanmar military regime to do trade with Russia, through Best Oil Co. Ltd., brokered through another Myanmar bank, Yoma.
The Innwa Bank records include over 200 transactions between Yoma Bank and Innwa Bank.
Foreign investors in the FMI holding company that owns Yoma Bank include Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund; the Norwegian development finance institution Norfund; and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group.
Records involving Yoma bank include transactions with MEC, individual military personnel, Best Oil Company Limited, Pinnacle Asia and Meditech. Best Oil is a wholesale oil importer and distributor that is a member of the junta’s Steering Committee for Purchasing Fuel Oil from Russia.
Radio Free Asia reported in April that Innwa Bank was in talks with five Russian banks, possibly to help the Myanmar regime purchase military equipment from Russia.
The 49 MB of records from Innwa Bank is available via the torrents on our website.