Bush Administration Places Financial Sanctions on Burma

The Bush administration is imposing financial sanctions on companies suspected of being owned or controlled by the military-run government of Myanmar.

The Treasury Department's action Tuesday covers 10 companies including two big conglomerates — the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and the Myanmar Economic Corp. that each has extensive holdings in gem mining, banking and construction. Those sectors are keenly important to the government, the department said. All of the companies are located in Myanmar.

Any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States that belong to those named Tuesday must be frozen. Americans also are prohibited from doing business with them.

It marked the latest move by the administration to financially punish the repressive junta in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and its backers for a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The United States last week blasted the Myanmar junta's oft-repeated promise to democratize as a "kind of mockery." The U.S. also renewed criticism of Myanmar for initially refusing international help in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in May, when several countries including the United States were "sitting literally offshore" with ships loaded with aid.