Microsoft strikes deal with shady Myanmar conglomerate

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Microsoft-Redmond-CampusUS software giant Microsoft signed a software and service supply agreement with Shwe Taung Group of Companies, a Myanmar business conglomerate that in the past has been linked to laundering drug money and whose chairman Aik Htun is suspected to be close to narcotics trafficking organizations.

Shwe Taung Group (formerly Olympic Construction Group) is suspected by the US of laundering drug money, shown by a the leaked US embassy cable exposed by Wikileaks. Several law enforcement agencies continue to suspect Aik Htun to have close ties to the drug traffickers and the “rich investors” behind Shwe Taung Group consists of higher army brass in Myanmar.

The group was formerly affiliated to Asia Wealth Bank, another one of Aik Htun’s company’s and Myanmar’s largest private bank until the banking crisis of 2003, against which sanctions were imposed by the US on allegations of money laundering and drug links. The bank is defunct since 2005.

Aik Htun has always denied the accusations. Microsoft referred to its “due diligence process” that verifies whether customers are in conflict with relevant local and US laws and regulations.

The Shwe Taung Group deal is Microsoft’s second large service deal in Myanmar after it partnered with Kanbawza Group in September this year, another multi-industry conglomerate also involved in jade mining. The group is owned by Aung Ko Win, a Myanmar businessman with close ties to General Maung Aye, the second in command of the former military junta and former commander in the jade-mining region of rebellious Shan State. Aung Ko Win was on an EU sanctions list for his claimed ties to the former junta until 2011.

Another local partner of Microsoft in Myanmar is Myanmar Information Technology (MIT) which acts as the central supplier for all of its products.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

US software giant Microsoft signed a software and service supply agreement with Shwe Taung Group of Companies, a Myanmar business conglomerate that in the past has been linked to laundering drug money and whose chairman Aik Htun is suspected to be close to narcotics trafficking organizations.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Microsoft-Redmond-CampusUS software giant Microsoft signed a software and service supply agreement with Shwe Taung Group of Companies, a Myanmar business conglomerate that in the past has been linked to laundering drug money and whose chairman Aik Htun is suspected to be close to narcotics trafficking organizations.

Shwe Taung Group (formerly Olympic Construction Group) is suspected by the US of laundering drug money, shown by a the leaked US embassy cable exposed by Wikileaks. Several law enforcement agencies continue to suspect Aik Htun to have close ties to the drug traffickers and the “rich investors” behind Shwe Taung Group consists of higher army brass in Myanmar.

The group was formerly affiliated to Asia Wealth Bank, another one of Aik Htun’s company’s and Myanmar’s largest private bank until the banking crisis of 2003, against which sanctions were imposed by the US on allegations of money laundering and drug links. The bank is defunct since 2005.

Aik Htun has always denied the accusations. Microsoft referred to its “due diligence process” that verifies whether customers are in conflict with relevant local and US laws and regulations.

The Shwe Taung Group deal is Microsoft’s second large service deal in Myanmar after it partnered with Kanbawza Group in September this year, another multi-industry conglomerate also involved in jade mining. The group is owned by Aung Ko Win, a Myanmar businessman with close ties to General Maung Aye, the second in command of the former military junta and former commander in the jade-mining region of rebellious Shan State. Aung Ko Win was on an EU sanctions list for his claimed ties to the former junta until 2011.

Another local partner of Microsoft in Myanmar is Myanmar Information Technology (MIT) which acts as the central supplier for all of its products.

 

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