Myanmar admits: $7.6b in foreign accounts

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kyat bricksThe Central Bank of Myanmar on September 20 said the country’s lenders have parked more than $7 billion worth of foreign reserves in overseas bank accounts, but rejected reports that the figure was much larger, tied to the country’s ex-junta and had led to the World Bank refusing to cancel its debt.

At a press conference in Naypyidaw, Central Bank Chairman Kyaw Kyaw Maung denied reports that the Myanmar government held up to $11 billion in five overseas accounts.

“We don’t know about the U.S. $11 billion in foreign banks,” Kyaw Kyaw Maung said, according to Radio Free Asia.

“According to our official foreign exchange figures, the Myanmar government has only $7.6 billion in foreign bank accounts,” he said.

Kyaw Kyaw Maung called the funds “foreign exchange reserves,” which he said include government “budget funds as well as privately-held accounts.” They are “used when needed,” he added. But the bank chairman declined to specify where the funds were held or how much of the money was government-owned or privately controlled.

He said that the Central Bank, Myanma Foreign Trade Bank and the Myanma Investment Commercial Bank are among government institutions that hold foreign reserves abroad, and that a number of private Myanmar banks also control part of the $7.6 billion.

President’s Office spokesman Ye Htut challenged the media to produce the names of the banks and locations where the $11 billion were allegedly kept, saying the government would investigate the claims if evidence could be produced.

The former military regime is believed to have skimmed hundreds of millions of dollars annually from natural gas exports and Washington-based Earth Rights International (ERI), which monitors human rights and natural resources, has said that the junta stashed the money in Singapore. Now it is gradually coming back to Myanmar for investments.

In 2009, ERI claimed to have evidence showing that the junta excluded some $5 billion in revenues from the country’s national budget and that the revenues had been generated from the Yadana Gas project, operated by French oil giant Total and its US partner Chevron. ERI claimed that the funds had been sent to the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation and DBS Group – two Singapore banks which served as “offshore repositories.” The banks have denied the allegations.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Central Bank of Myanmar on September 20 said the country’s lenders have parked more than $7 billion worth of foreign reserves in overseas bank accounts, but rejected reports that the figure was much larger, tied to the country’s ex-junta and had led to the World Bank refusing to cancel its debt.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

kyat bricksThe Central Bank of Myanmar on September 20 said the country’s lenders have parked more than $7 billion worth of foreign reserves in overseas bank accounts, but rejected reports that the figure was much larger, tied to the country’s ex-junta and had led to the World Bank refusing to cancel its debt.

At a press conference in Naypyidaw, Central Bank Chairman Kyaw Kyaw Maung denied reports that the Myanmar government held up to $11 billion in five overseas accounts.

“We don’t know about the U.S. $11 billion in foreign banks,” Kyaw Kyaw Maung said, according to Radio Free Asia.

“According to our official foreign exchange figures, the Myanmar government has only $7.6 billion in foreign bank accounts,” he said.

Kyaw Kyaw Maung called the funds “foreign exchange reserves,” which he said include government “budget funds as well as privately-held accounts.” They are “used when needed,” he added. But the bank chairman declined to specify where the funds were held or how much of the money was government-owned or privately controlled.

He said that the Central Bank, Myanma Foreign Trade Bank and the Myanma Investment Commercial Bank are among government institutions that hold foreign reserves abroad, and that a number of private Myanmar banks also control part of the $7.6 billion.

President’s Office spokesman Ye Htut challenged the media to produce the names of the banks and locations where the $11 billion were allegedly kept, saying the government would investigate the claims if evidence could be produced.

The former military regime is believed to have skimmed hundreds of millions of dollars annually from natural gas exports and Washington-based Earth Rights International (ERI), which monitors human rights and natural resources, has said that the junta stashed the money in Singapore. Now it is gradually coming back to Myanmar for investments.

In 2009, ERI claimed to have evidence showing that the junta excluded some $5 billion in revenues from the country’s national budget and that the revenues had been generated from the Yadana Gas project, operated by French oil giant Total and its US partner Chevron. ERI claimed that the funds had been sent to the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation and DBS Group – two Singapore banks which served as “offshore repositories.” The banks have denied the allegations.

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