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The Companies They Keep in Burma

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posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 10:39 PM

The Companies They Keep in Burma

The world has been informed in no uncertain terms of the concern of the First Family of the USA over the cause of democracy and freedom in Burma. The commitment of Washington to the corporate cause, however, has proven greater.

On September 19, Laura Bush told a UN Roundtable Discussion that the US government would take steps to ensure that the issue of democracy in Burma was "not overlooked" in the Security Council. Kristin Silverberg, US assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, called this "incredibly ... moving." It might have been as moving as her earlier, much-quoted statement, "I am a Desperate Housewife." But it made no mention of a main pillar of support for Burma's military junta - corporate carpetbaggers.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related Discussion Threads:
Why doesn't America bring democracy here?
Bush to challenge U.N. to revisit roots, advance freedom

posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 10:39 PM
Prior to GWB announcement in UN, US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley had proclaimed, the president was to "unveil new steps" against the junta and "try and force the regime into a change." However, new steps did not seem to include any sanctions against US or other foreign big-money operations aimed at profiteering at the expense of the Burmese people.

The element of surprise was what Hadley refered to, when he told the media:

"He (President Bush) is going to announce that there will be additional sanctions directed at key members of the regime, and those that provide financial support to them."

But Hadley, however, acted coy about further details, pleading that he needed to preserve "a little element of surprise" so that those targeted "don't, quite frankly, hide their assets before the sanctions come into force....

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

A poorly veiled warning, I would call it.

In the ungoing Burma issue focus on the big players is essential to understand the situation and in efforts to come up with solutions. Unfortunate every government's first task will be to downplay the human right's issue in support for own investors.

The last week's debate on Burma in various threads have shown a lack of basic knowledge on the country in general and how and what it operates by.

We're all used to connect oil with the ME and gas with Russia, and forgets there're oil and gas producing countries elsewhere. I doubt many members knew about Burma's role as a non-OPEC major oil & gas producer prior to the riots.

The estimate is that Burma sits on the largest, the richest, not yet developed gas fields in the world. For more than 10 years Total, Unical, Chevron together with Indian, Chinese and Thai contractors have been building and developing the wells, of which only a fraction of the potential is being opened.

I don't know the total production numbers for now, but an old figure on what goes through the Thai pipeline is 28 million cubic meters per day. French Total is the producer, and of its accounts on whatelse is shipped out is another 17 million cubic meters per day. China has yet to finish it trans-Burman pipeline from Mouline to Yunnan. For as long as it lasts, there's plenty to take from.

No wonder reluctance to act on the junta is predominant from certain security members.

The worst part of this whole interprise of digging 'gold' out of Andaman Sea is the destruction of the fragile mangrove eco-syrtem of the Arakan coast. And of its people.

From the newslink.

The Unocal Corporation figured earlier in internationally backed Burmese campaigns against forced labor, land appropriation and similar other gross human-rights violations in the gas and oil projects initiated by the junta behind the people's backs. The affected villagers came together in 1996 and sued Unocal and France's Total for complicity in the abuses. The villagers charged that the companies knew about and benefited from the Burmese army's use of torture, rape and unlawful land seizures to uproot people from areas slated for "development." The lawsuits were settled after the companies agreed to make due compensation only eight years later, in 2004.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Let alone to come out of the Burmese people's strugle, a general awareness of Burma as an energy producing country and the costs thereof
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 28 2007 @ 07:56 PM
I think this article adds to your excellent info on the natural reserves of the country and motives of other nations:

As blood flows, so does country's black gold

WHILE Burma's junta cracks down on pro-democracy protests, oil companies are jostling for access to the country's largely untapped gas and oil fields.

Just last week - as marches led by Buddhist monks drew thousands in the country's biggest cities - Indian oil minister Murli Deora was in the capital, Rangoon, for the signing of contracts between state-controlled ONGC Videsh and the country's military rulers to explore three offshore blocks.

Companies from China, South Korea, Thailand and elsewhere also are looking to exploit the energy resources of the desperately poor country.

posted on Sep, 28 2007 @ 10:35 PM
Thank you for your input, Cat. All info is useful.

I'm working on compiling a post with the numbers of the Burmese energy production, its development and impact on people and enviroment ...and about the players, who they are, and point to their role in the suppression, their interests to do business with a junta rather than with democratic elected bodies.

It might take another day or so before I have it all together.

Info on Burmese energy, please post it here.

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 12:09 AM
lalalalala i dont see it i dont hear it lalalala! it does not exist! nothing but lies!!!! blah blah blah blah!!!!

We are right and the world is wrong, even when we contradict ourselves and even when we are clearly wrong!!!

At least we know the French are just as bad as the US in world events, but this is not a reason to begin trying to pin it all on France.

I am sorry, but I do not even believe that all of this will be enough to convince those that are in denial. The die hard skeptics wil not even believe it when the exploiters go on national TV and say

"Hey whats wrong with yall? are you guys really that dumb? Yes we are doing this, for real its not lies! But thanks for the passive support, it helps our exploitation and corruption reach record levels everyday, and for that we thank you. Here have a nickel off a gallon of gas for the next three weeks as a thank you

Ahh well, I gues life will go on. I will say this, as peaceful as the monks are, it will not be logn before even their patience will wear thin, and they will be forced out of self-preservation to get dirty and fight the oppressors.

[edit on 9/29/2007 by DYepes]

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 12:27 AM
There's not much I can disagree with here, other than the accusatory tone towards the Bush administration and Laura. The current U.S.-Myanmar policy has been unchanged since well before Bush's tenure (yes back through the Clinton years

Credit should be given to Bush for recognizing this new situation publicly before it was front-page news.


Just to add all new investment in Myanmar/Burma has been banned by U.S. law since 1997.

In addition, since May 1997, the U.S. Government has prohibited new investment by U.S. persons or entities. A number of U.S. companies exited the Burma market even prior to the imposition of sanctions due to a worsening business climate and mounting criticism from human rights groups, consumers, and shareholders. The United States has also imposed countermeasures on Burma due to its inadequate measures to eliminate money laundering.

Due to its particularly severe violations of religious freedom, the United States has designated Burma a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act. Burma is also designated a Tier 3 Country in the Trafficking in Persons Report for its use of forced labor, and is subject to additional sanctions as a result.

The United States downgraded its level of representation in Burma from Ambassador to Chargé dAffaires after the governments crackdown on the democratic opposition in 1988 and its failure to honor the results of the 1990 parliamentary election.

[edit on 9/29/2007 by djohnsto77]

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 01:11 AM
This is why IMO, supporting Hillary for President is thw wrong choice, seeing as it will only ensure the Bush-Clinton dynasty (they are one family) will continue on.

want to see how new blood will approach the foreign policies. The same Caucasian European descendants have controlled and lead America sicne it's beginning. Please, for the sake of the world, give us "ethnic" people a chance man...

Really, how much worse can it get than it is now? Asian President, Latino, or African, just come on man... at least try and see how a new approach from a leader from a different culture give it shot? We are an extremely diverse nation after all, it would not hurt to publicly display and accept that through the highest honor of leadership in the nation you know?

I am sorry I usually do not stray that off topic.

In any case, I really do not believe these monks are just going to sit there and take it much longer. This is my prediction, before this year ends, they will show their true power and boot the agressors.

[edit on 9/29/2007 by DYepes]

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 07:19 AM
Here is an article discussing the French company TOTAL:

French Oil Company Defends Burma Energy Projects

French oil group Total says it has not made any new acquisitions or investments in Burma since 1998, after French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday urged the company to freeze investments in the southeast Asian country.

Total defended its business in Burma, saying companies that would take their place in the country may be less ethical.

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 10:22 AM
Glad to see a topic like this mainstrean. From CNN:

Satellite photos may prove abuses ...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Satellite photos showing the disappearance of villages and a buildup of army camps offer what researchers say is potential evidence of human rights abuses in Myanmar, the scene of bloody anti-government protests that have drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators.

Burma has become the focus of international pressure to curtail the violent repression of its citizens.

"We are trying to send a message to the military junta that we are watching from the sky," Aung Din, policy director for the interest group U.S. Campaign for Burma, said Friday at a briefing on the photos.

"Physical evidence of reported attacks on civilians sometimes can be subtle compared to the slash-and-burn types of destruction that we saw in Darfur or Zimbabwe. It's also a lush ecosystem where plants can quickly grow to cover burn marks and clouds and terrain often block satellite observation," he said.

Nonetheless, he said he was able to map the locations of 31 of the reported human rights violations.

"Eighteen of the locations showed evidence consistent with destroyed or damaged villages," he said in a statement. "We found evidence of expanded military camps in four other locations as well as multiple possibly relocated villages, and we documented growth in one refugee camp on the Thai border. All of this was very consistent with reporting by multiple human rights groups on the ground in Burma."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

If only google earth was live...
but unless we pay we cannot get live sat-images.

Don't know what such a service would cost,
but we would then be able to follow the true background for this conflict - live fed!
Watching corridors stripping their way through the foliage, villages disapear, see them burn maybe.

It would be one of the very few cases where I would acknowledge Big Bro watching.

This article to tell somebody does. Analyzes satellite images of Burma.

(try a googlearth trip from Laos / N Thailand direction W/NW thru the northern tracts of Burma into Manipur to the Brahmaputra) You'll get an idea of what kind of land, how little evidence of humans it shows ...and maybe you can find some strange constructions going on in the terrain.
Then just remember, that was maybe two years ago.

No joking, multinational economic activities and army build up is the submerged part of Burma's economic iceberg, you don't see it and they don't tell. In other words, the main part of the economy are hidden activities, clandestine or confidental. The consequences of their joint corporate interprise is a human disaster, greatly ignored in world society as it is in the SE Asian countries.

Accounts on what really goes on can be found Burma in chains: U.S. companies profit from slavery.(Myanmar human rights)
It is spanking to big oil, but I take the informations valid.


Using the invested dollars of companies like Unocal, Texaco, ARCO, Total, CALTEX (a joint venture of Chevron and Texaco), and Pepsi, the Burmese government carries out environmental destruction and genocide. The SLORC has an embassy in Washington and retains its seat at the United Nations. The U.S. embassy is open for business in Rangoon, with a DEA presence and a commercial attachi available to provide companies with advice on how to invest in Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi herself has criticized foreign corporations for "coming to do business when it is a matter of life and death for all of us." If Unocal and Total proceed with their pipeline construction, a 200-foot-wide scar will be cut from the Andaman Sea through the rain forest, twenty-seven miles to Nai et Taung. Wetlands, riverbeds, and farmland will be destroyed, and the offshore section will damage fragile coral reefs and fishing grounds.

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 12:04 PM
I don't know if this will help you in your research but I found this while googling and post it here for you in case you haven't read it yet.

It seems that an Australian University (Macquarie) has been compiling annual reports on Burma's economy:

Burma Economic Watch 2006 pdf

Welcome to the first issue of Burma Economic Watch (BEW) for 2006. BEW is a periodical
that aims to provide up-to-date and reliable data, analysis and commentary on the economy
of Burma. Information on the Burmese economy is both difficult to obtain and notoriously
unreliable. Comment and analysis is often scarcely less so. Our aim is to make a modest
contribution to improving each, and to encourage informed debate.

They have three other issues, 2 for 2004, and 1 for 2005, you can find them here

posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 09:03 PM
Found another news article

This is an editorial on China and the Myanmar gas pipeline deal:

China bets on Myanmar status quo for gas

HONG KONG -- China struck an energy coup with a pipeline deal in Myanmar earlier this year but its cozy relationship with the ruling generals could come back to haunt it if the investment environment opens up, analysts say.
The military government of the impoverished southeast Asian state gets most of its export earnings from selling gas to Thailand and it has stepped up a drive to attract more foreign investment in the last three years.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 12:55 AM
Thanks a lot for your contributions Cat, I appreciate them.

The site where I have located the information on the gas project is very hard for my browser to handle, slow, not loading properly, going down every other minute. It's an extensive site with dozens of submenus and even more sub-submenus. The problem is more my inadequate GPRS connection than the site itself. It runs smooth at 4 pm, but it's a little bit late for me to stay up and a little too early to get up.

I'm on the the index of updated news right now, and I post the link here for anyone to explore and report from.

A piece I managed to load is quite puzling. We know China is building a pipeline to transport the Andaman gas into China. Now it says they are gonna build a oil-pipeline with flow in the opposite direction.

China-Myanmar oil pipeline project approved – source dated 9/22/07

GUANGZHOU (XFN-ASIA) - The China-Myanmar oil pipeline project, which will transship oil imported from the Middle East, has won Chinese government approval, a source told XFN-Asia.

The Chinese side is drafting detailed plans for the construction of the pipeline, which will go to Chongqing in southwestern China, said the source, who declined to be identified.

In January, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed production sharing contracts with Myanmar's Ministry of Energy covering crude oil and natural gas exploration projects in three deep-sea blocks off western Myanmar.

The China Oil News reported earlier this year that construction of the pipeline is expected to start this year.

In that piece we have a clue as to why they hiked the fuel prices. Kinda paradox though
they sell all their own resources and import expensive ME oil. What kind of deal is that?

EDIT: Sorry I was a little too quick -again- Cat's piece gives the explanation to above.

Chinese oil giant PetroChina appears to have won the last round by snatching a gas pipeline agreement from under India's nose. It has sweetened the deal by talking to Myanmar about running an oil pipeline along the same route.

Such a pipeline would ease the passage of Saudi crude bound for China by cutting out the congested Malacca Straits, but would be dependent on the goodwill of the regime in Myanmar.

Got the map of the pipelines, I post it right away.

Oh yes, FYI, the CNN article about satellite surveilence, I've found the source article from American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) :

[edit on 30-9-2007 by khunmoon]

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 02:50 AM
On geo-policies, kind of a revelation just dawned on me. Burma is the strategic corridor for China to the Indian Ocean. I'm quite sure China will take to fighting in Burma if their interests are chalenged in there. In that connection I like you to pay notice to a piece in the geo-strategic puzle member Mobydog drew my attention to yesterday. It tells about clandestine operations along the Sino-Burman border -- with alleged US special forces involvement. The Chinese changing the asignment to gaurd the border from police forces to its regular army.

I'm not able to judge the credibility, but it's a fascinating read. Can only recommend it.

Part 1: PLA masses on the border

Intrigued by Kong's remarks, Asia Times Online sent a team to the southern province of Yunnan, and into Myanmar itself, to investigate the nature and scale of the border "adjustment", and to try to determine why it is taking place. Had a US military force been secretly deployed inside Myanmar, as one rumor had it? Or, more likely, was Beijing worried that the embattled military dictatorship in Yangon was losing control of the country all on its own, without interference by Americans in the shadows?

As the titling indicates more parts in a serie on the subject exists. Anybody can find the other parts? I'm no wizard in searcing and the search on the site doesn't seem to work.

A subpage from

The geopolitics of Gas: The battle of Arakan

Shwe, the Burmese word for gold, and the name of gas reserves recently discovered off the coast of western Burma, aptly describes what lies under the sea and its significance to the military regime ruling the country. With a conservative total market value of US$37 billion , it will be the largest single source of income to date for the SPDC.

The junta has become adept at "resource diplomacy," giving neighbours a substantial slice of the country’s natural wealth through trade and investment in return for revenue and political support. Located between China, India, and Thailand, Burma is able to play its neighbours against each other in their race for resources.

This is from the Arakan Coast. What I still need to find is information on the activities on the Ma(r)taban Coast in the south along the coast of Mon State. That's where Total and Chevron operates. This Shwe project seems to be Chinese/Indian interprise.

Any info on the Ma(r)taban Coast welcomed.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 05:15 AM
I don't know if this fits here, since you're going down the energy path. I was looking into land, and I found that Singapore's Keppel Corporation's properties division runs hotels in Myanmar.

Sedona Hotels International

Keppel Corp. is also involved in offshore drilling, but I'm not certain if they do so in Myanmar.

Keppel Corp Ltd KPLM.SI (Singapore)

Incidentally, the generals keep the bulk of their assets in Singaporean banks, so any move by the US or EU to freeze their assets is merely a symbolic gesture that would hardly put a dent on their personal wealth.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 08:19 AM
A boycott against TOTAL for helping to prop up the military regime with their energy contracts with the leaders.

Anglicans boycott TOTAL gasoline

A progressive church in Bradford is calling on all churches to advocate a boycott on Total garages during the present crisis in Burma - because the company is seen as an important prop to the murderous regime there.

Members of JustChurch, a Bradford city centre 'fresh expression' of church within the Anglican tradition, blockaded a Total Garage in the city centre and urged drivers to go elsewhere.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 09:09 AM
^^^Good to see action is taken ...and there is an awareness of the connection junta surpression>big oil.

On - a site FOR the oil & gas industry - I found this on the Gulf of Mataban.

PTTEP first struck natural gas at M9 Block in early 2007 when it found natural gas at Zawtika-1A well. The test results of the first well together with the two newly drilled wells made the company confident in the natural gas potential on the eastern area of M9 Block. In the near future, PTTEP will drill exploration well Zawtika-2 and 4-5 appraisal wells to confirm the petroleum reserves. It will also lay down plans to develop the natural gas in the area with the aim to start production in 2011 or 2012 for local use and for export to Thailand.

M9 Block is in the Gulf of Mataban in the Union of Myanmar about 300 kilometers south of Yangon. PTTEP has held production sharing contract with the Government of Myanmar since 2003 and has 100% interest in M7 and M9 Blocks.

To calm their shareholders in the present situation this is a news statement of 9/26/07

PTTEP has closely monitored the situation in the Union of Myanmar and would like to report that the production of natural gas is now continuing at the normal rate. Yadana Project is producing about 650 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMSCFD) while Yetagun Project is producing about 430 MMSCFD. Exploration work at M9 Block is also progressing normally.

An infobit posted earlier said 1 million cubic meter per day going through the Thai pipeline. These updated figures makes it more than 18 million and 12 million for the two. 30 million cubic meter of gas per day goes into Thailand.

A map to show where the Mataban area is situated.

Now I'm gonna see what news they have on Total on this corporate site.

BTW, I think to know PTTEP are controlled part by Total. Can't find confirmation. Anyone knows, please post.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 10:29 AM
Human rights abuses

Yetagun pipelines during the second half the 1990s, which happened in three clear stages:

At an early stage of the project, the region became increasingly militarised, and local villagers had to leave their lands without any compensation.

Relocated battalions appropriated agricultural lands and further forced local villagers to provide food for the troops, thus seriously impeding the livelihoods of thousands of villagers.

Many locals were conscripted as porters and forced labourers to construct military camps and military infrastructure. Others were forced to clear land and build roads along the pipeline corridor and supply routes.

Moreover, communities in the Yadana/Yetagun pipeline corridor suffered torture, and there are reports of numerous extra judicial killings and the rape of ethnic minority women by the Burmese military. Thousands of refugees took shelter in refugee camps, while others became internally displaced.

Yadana/Yetagun are mentioned as the fields where PTTEP operates. In this piece they are mentioned as part in a legal battle with Total/Unocal.

The Thais operates it, but who owns it? Total it seems.

After years of drawn out legal battles, the two corporations involved in the project, Unocal and Total, both agreed to settle separate multi-million dollar cases in U.S. and French courts. In the early 2006 settlements, the corporations agreed to compensate Burmese plaintiffs as well as set up a fund to benefit villagers from Burma. A third corporation, Premier Oil, pulled out of the project in 2002 after international pressure. Excerpts from Total Denial Continues provide a grim forewarning should the Shwe project advance:

A mobilization of troops swiftly and fiercely brought the populations of the Yadana/Yetagun project area under control. An area that previously had no permanent army outposts was suddenly flooded with troops, involving at least 16 battalions (p.23).

Turning in for now - tomorrow Total investigation.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 08:17 PM
An excerpt of the Yadana pipeline and the controvercies it spurred (in Thailand), mostly enviromental as it is uninhibited jungle, compared to the struggle on the Burmese side of the Tennaserim Range where the gahts are fairly populated. It must be noted that the Western Forest Complex of Thailand are among the most prestine in all of SE Asia. Untill this pipeline got build they were vertually untouched.

I remember about ten years ago when I first came to Thailand the issue was hot, and the controversy put the blame on the social and enviromental conscious government of Suan Leekpai who let it pass without any public objections at all.

The 670 km pipeline to send natural gas from the Yadana fields in offshore
Burma to fuel electricity plants in Thailand has faced opposition both inside Burma and internationally, making it one of the world's most controversial infrastructure projects. Since construction began in early 1995 in Burma, international human rights groups have demanded that the two oil companies -- Total of France and Unocal of USA -- pull out of the project on the grounds that revenue from the gas will strengthen the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Burma's repressive military

The pipeline route will cut a 20- 80 metre - wide route through 26 km of
Thailand's western forest ecosystem, which covers an area of about 600,000 hectares contiguous with forests across the border in Burma. The western forest complex forms one of the largest protected area in mainland southeast Asia comprising 14 Protected Areas of which the Thung Yai Naresuan-Huai Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary complex is an internationally recognized site accorded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The Tennaserim Range seismic zone has two major active faults: Si Sawat and Three Pagodas Fault, leading to concerns about gas leakage, possibly
resulting in massive explosions, landslides and severe soil erosion from
building a pipeline in a known earthquake zone. Almost the entire Thai
section of the pipeline is located practically on top of the Three Pagodas
Fault. The Department of Meteorology recorded the epicentre of earthquakes near the project area six times during 1983-1988 at Si Sawat and Thong Pha Phum districts with magnitude of 4.1-4. 5 on the Richter Scale.

The PTT will present their revised EIA (enviromental impact assesment) to the NEB in November, but the specific dates for the technical hearings by the PTT and the Royal Forestry Department are not known to the public. Sources within the National Environment Board say that PTT officials are very worried about the previous rejection of the project studies by the NEB's experts committee. As a result, the PTT is putting intense pressure on senior officials in the NEB to establish another Experts Committee with members sympathetic to the pipeline project so as to ensure that the project can reach the NEB for approval without further delay.

This from ten years ago. Now the pipeline is there, and now is happening what happens when any structure opens up protected areas. Trafficking and exploitations.

Drugs have numerous routes to take to, as have human trafficking. But this pipeline has opened up the largest reservations of the Siamese tiger, one of the only ones left to exist, opened it up to poachers.

The price to pay for this pipe of cheap energy, can very well be the last tiger of Thailand.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 08:27 PM
A very interesting analyze on the Total/Unocal verdict of 2003.

From rigzone.

One of the United States' earliest laws that dates back to 1789, the Alien Tort Claims Act, was originally passed to prevent pirates from setting up a safe haven in the still-young country.

The little-used legislation was ignored for decades. However, in 1980, a U.S. Court awarded over $10 million to the family of a Paraguayan human rights activist who had been tortured by a Paraguayan police inspector who had subsequently moved to the United States. (The $10 million was never collected.) The result has been an avalanche of claims against dozens of U.S. companies operating in countries with less-than-pristine records of respecting human rights.

None have yet made it to trial, but this could soon change. Unocal Corp. was unsuccessful in asking a panel of 11 judges from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court to dismiss actions launched on behalf of indigenous farmers in Myanmar (Doe I v. Unocal Corp., 00-56603).

Two lawsuits, originally filed in 1996, allege the El Segundo, Cal.-based oil company was complicit in extremely serious crimes, including slavery, murder, and rape, in the country formerly known as Burma.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 09:04 PM

Originally posted by Beachcoma
Incidentally, the generals keep the bulk of their assets in Singaporean banks, so any move by the US or EU to freeze their assets is merely a symbolic gesture that would hardly put a dent on their personal wealth.

Has Singapore made any statement about this?

Sri Oracle

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