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|10-06-2011, 06:31 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Tay Za : Burma’s Richest Man
Burma’s Richest Man
June 10, 2011
No sooner had the Burmese military attempted to convince the world it was too poor to undertake a nuclear programme than its richest man emerges from the shadows to brag about the incredible fortunes he, the generals and local and Chinese businessmen have amassed over the years.
Tay Za is a 47-year-old billionaire -- and he wants the West to know it.
He recently told an Italian journalist in his first interview with the foreign press: ‘I want it to be known once and for all that I am the wealthiest man in Burma. Too many Chinese have taken our citizenship and are now boasting they are the richest. But they're not pure Burmese.’
In a fantastic interview with Raimondo Butrini and published in La Republica, Tay Za did anything but cry poor from a snakeskin sofa with armrests shaped of enormous golden conch shells in a plush Rangoon mansion.
The Burmese businessman heads a list of 3,000 people with sanctions levelled against them, yet despite this runs a network of companies with an estimated turnover of about $500 million a year, with interests that include aviation and gem stones.
‘My holdings show that actually your Western sanctions don't bother me,’ he said.
‘In fact, they suit me fine, and that goes for everyone else on your black list, including the generals themselves. But I don't like seeing our economy depending on Chinese trade alone.
‘They have the money and can afford everything, even the jade and precious stones from my mines. Everyone knows that China has enormous interests here. The Chinese need a secure trade route for their goods from the Middle East and Africa without using the Straits of Malacca, which are controlled by the US.
‘That's why they're building huge ports along our western coast, and railways across the country up to Kunming, behind their frontier. Our gas goes up there too, through hundreds of miles of pipeline.’
The interview was far reaching and offered some rare insights into the running of the country. Asked if the Burmese generals fear Chinese control, he responded:
‘You can be sure of that. But people abroad don't seem to realize that sanctions are bound to thrust us into the arms of Beijing in the end. Just the other day, China offered a loan of $30 billion, which the government hasn't yet accepted, but certainly will soon.
‘In exchange, they will obviously get more concessions. All this is going on because you are following the moral principles of (former US president) George Bush, who will go down in history as America's worst ever president for the mess he made in Iraq and its consequences.’
Tay Za also had some fair points about hypocrisy and Western sanctions: ‘China is always being accused of violating human rights, but where are the sanctions against them? As for the champions of these sanctions, why do America and France let Chevron and Total operate here with no restrictions whatsoever? They're the hypocrites, moralizing while they knowingly swell their government coffers, not China, India, Thailand, Singapore and Korea.’
However, he also made a somewhat dubious point, saying: ‘You should realize that the real victims of your measures against us here are the poor, who live hand to mouth.’
It’s a hard line to swallow given his bragging rights are based on how so few have attained such great wealth in a country of so many poor. It also makes a mockery of claims by Burma’s Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo, who recently told US Sen. John McCain during his tour there to assess the country’s changing politics that Burma isn’t wealthy enough to acquire nuclear weapons.
wot a piece of shite
see also :
http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asi...s-myanmar.html (Singaporean, 10 firms under US Myanmar sanctions)
"Keeping quiet while monks and other peaceful protesters are murdered and jailed is not evidence of constructive engagement." - Arvind Ganesan, Human Rights Watch.
"I think...I think it's in my basement. Let me go upstairs and check" - M.C. Escher
|10-06-2011, 06:35 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Tay Za talks sanctions, business and politics
Monday, 06 June 2011
(Interview) – No foreign journalist had ever been allowed to cross the threshold of Tay Za’s luxurious villa located a few hundred yards from the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, the icon of the country’s pro-democracy opposition, in Rangoon. I did so recently with strong reservations, well aware of its owner’s pro-regime reputation and his allegedly unscrupulous business practices.
Ever since he began his rise, becoming a billionaire through his connections with Burma’s dictatorial military junta, Tay Za had been obliged to live as unobtrusively as any of its generals. He owns the largest network of businesses in Burma and is one of the masters of the most tightly regulated economy in Asia, perhaps the world.
His name is at the top of the list of 3,000 individuals on sanctions lists against Burma but now, with a civilian administration freshly elected, the tycoon has decided to step out of the shadows.
Tay Za at his office
Photo: Raimondo Bultrini
Tay Za is 47 years old, and the father of three children. He has a 14-year-old daughter who was recently cured of a form of polio at an Italian hospital in Milan. After the information became public, there was a protest by some organizations in Italy over her being granted a visa for treatment.
Although feeling some embarrassment at the nature of my scoop, I was prepared to hear what he had to say. This is a longer version of an interview that was published recently in La Republica, which stirred some protests in Italy.
After entering the house, I was greeted by Tay Za and led through marble-floored rooms with medieval armour, including one of a samurai, standing amidst the marble columns. We settled into a snakeskin sofa that like all the armchairs in the immense lavish room, had armrests in the shape of enormous golden conch shells, and had been bought in Italy.
Surprisingly fresh faced and wearing form-fitting black trousers and mirrored sunglasses, Tay Za admitted immediately that he had ‘excellent relationships’ with both the military and the newly elected civilian government.
‘But I can only speak for myself’, he said, before we began the interview. ‘I have nothing to do with politics. I just do business as it’s a family tradition. The reason I’m talking to you–this is the first time I’ve spoken to a foreign journalist–is that I want it to be known once and for all that I am the wealthiest man in Burma. Too many Chinese have taken our citizenship and are now boasting they are the richest. But they’re not pure Burmese’.
Question: You are at the top of sanctions list. How have you managed to create a turnover of 500 million dollars a year and to own dozens of companies, with interests ranging from helicopters to rubies?
Answer: My holdings show that actually your Western sanctions don’t bother me. In fact, they suit me fine, and that goes for everyone else on your black list, including the generals themselves. But I don’t like seeing our economy depending on Chinese trade alone. They have the money and can afford everything, even the jade and precious stones from my mines. Everyone knows that China has enormous interests here. The Chinese need a secure trade route for their goods from the Middle East and Africa without using the Straits of Malacca, which are controlled by the US. That’s why they’re building huge ports along our western coast, and railways across the country up to Kunming, behind their frontier. Our gas goes up there too, through hundreds of miles of pipeline.
Q: Don’t the generals share this fear of Chinese control?
A: You can be sure of that. But people abroad don’t seem to realize that sanctions are bound to thrust us into the arms of Beijing in the end. Just the other day, China offered a loan of 30 billion dollars, which the government hasn’t yet accepted but certainly will soon. In exchange, they will obviously get more concessions. All this is going on because you are following the ‘moral principles’ of (former US president) George Bush, who will go down in history as America’s worst ever president for the mess he made in Iraq and its consequences. But you should realize that the real victims of your measures against us here are the poor, who live hand to mouth.
Q: Aung San Suu Kyi has claimed the military government is to blame for its mismanagement of the economy and the IMF has said the same. Besides, the sanctions are explicitly to punish human rights violations.
A: China is always being accused of violating human rights, but where are the sanctions against them? As for the champions of these sanctions, why do America and France let Chevron and Total operate here with no restrictions whatsoever? They’re the hypocrites, moralizing while they knowingly swell their government coffers, not China, India, Thailand, Singapore and Korea.
Q: So what are the actual effects of the sanctions in your view?
A: One example; if the tourists don’t come, how are the hotel and restaurant workers and the fish and vegetable sellers going to survive? If we can only sell to the Indians and Chinese, in an uncompetitive market, the price of our products falls. That means our peasants, 75 per cent of the Burmese people, go hungry. Look, I come from a business family that lost everything when Ne Win’s socialist government carried out nationalizations. Through my father-in-law, (who was well connected with the military), I started to make a lot of money buying the rights to forestry land. By selling the timber, ten dollars soon turned into a thousand. All I had to do was respect the laws of the country that had given me this chance to get rich. It’s not for me to decide if they are good or bad. For me, they were good.
Tay Za invited Italian journalist Raimondo Bultrini to interview him at his home in Rangoon.
Photo: Raimondo Bultrini
Q: Don’t you feel disturbed by the poverty, the arrest of dissidents, the selling off of natural resources?
A: Sure, there are problems. We are all human, and we make mistakes. Like your prime minister (Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi), always in trouble over women. Let’s say I agree about 80 per cent with the way my country is run. The dissidents pay the price of breaking the law, and as for principles, Singapore is not a democracy either because it only has one party. I think that here in Burma a high percentage of the administration and the armed forces love this country and want to see it grow. Now we are much stronger than we were in the past. Besides, the military really is gradually giving way to civilians. Already, there are civilians heading regional governments rather than the highest-ranking soldier in the area.
Q: Many people say this is just a superficial change.
A: However limited you think it is, it is more democratic than a socialist or communist system where everything is nationalized. Here, any entrepreneur can come and do business whether there are sanctions or not. I kept on working even when they froze my accounts in Singapore, and I had to turn to banks in China and the Middle East. But I live here and pay my taxes here, as my father taught me to. Years ago, he got furious with me when I foolishly wanted to become a foreign citizen. ‘If you go abroad, all your wealth will make other people richer, not your own’, he said to me.
Q: When did you begin your career, which brought you so close to the military regime at such a young age?
A: I started out with nothing and worked 14 hours a day from 1988. That was the year the student uprising was put down. It did, however, mark the end of General Ne Win’s socialism. I tried to figure out the opportunities that were opening up and it wasn’t for me to pass judgement on military rule, which had been with us since the time of the monarchy. In the 1990s, everyone was invited to invest, creating a more open economy and Chevron and Total stepped in. That’s what infuriates me about the sanctions. How am I to blame? For becoming a multi-millionaire? I’ve been one since 1996, but to buy my first concessions I had to sell my house and car and risk every kyat that I had. I can afford to retire now, and I may even do that. That’s why I can speak about all this without thinking about what’s in it for me. I say to the Americans–come and see Myanmar [Burma] and have faith in its opening up, don’t just swallow the nonsense invented by the CIA. There is a race on and, mark my words, we have resources that are unique in the world. Education is the only thing we lack. Once, our elite used to study in America and England. Today, all we have are Russian schools.
Last edited by Mid : 10-06-2011 at 06:41 PM.
|10-06-2011, 06:43 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
|10-06-2011, 07:33 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Last Online: 31-08-2012 07:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
^^ agree about the loyalties. He does seem to be out for the money and will do anything to get it. He paints himself as some sort of innocent person, with Bush as the example of sinister. He seems to take a swipe at China and the Chinese who live in Burma, too. He also mention he thought of leaving. My bet is one day he will leave as he seems to have his enemies change day-by-day depending where the money opportunities are. I wonder if he used 'Burmese people' as it says or another word. Anyone know if he was he educated outside Burma?
|10-06-2011, 07:43 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
He went into the timber business with an initial capital investment of $333,333, setting up Htoo Trading Company.
Tay Za began exporting timber and, over the years, gained logging rights over vast tracts of virgin forests.
In the early days, one young officer who was well acquainted with Tay Za was Shwe Mann, now third-highest ranking man in the ruling council. Aung Thet Mann, Shwe Mann’s son, joined forces with Tay Za in 1997.
Aung Thet Mann, who is also on the US sanction list, is on the board of Htoo Trading Company, and Aung Thet Mann’s own company, Ayer Shwe Wah, is a subsidiary of Htoo Trading Company.
Who,s Tay Za-the Junta Cronie
|10-06-2011, 09:01 PM||#7 (permalink)|
Last Online: 28-11-2013 05:07 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: in t' naughty lass
He looks pretty Chinese to me... he's maybe got a tiny bit of Bamar blood in him, but not much. Much of what he says makes sense though. China is the biggest threat to the future of the world, and the west is making it too easy for them, letting them take Burma and Africa.
Of course he has his own agenda, and you don't get to the top in a place like that without being skilful at making connections and playing off one side against another... he seems to be showing a bit of leg to the US so that he can use them to get more out of the Chinks.
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we are all figments of our own imagination.
|10-06-2011, 09:13 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Last Online: 28-02-2012 05:19 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: over there
|05-02-2013, 04:45 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Tay Za Wants to Stop Chairing Gems Association
THA LUN ZAUNG HTET
February 4, 2013
Tay Za (R) and his son, Pye Phyo Tay Za.
(Photo: Yangon United FC | The Official Website)
RANGOON — The Myanmar Gem Entrepreneurs Association (MGEA) said that its chairman Tay Za, a well-known business crony of Burma’s military, wants to resign from his position. The organization claims that it wants him to stay on, despite the fact that he is on a US sanctions list.
Tay Za presented his resignation letter in December citing health reasons and because he wanted to focus on “religious and social work,” MGEA’ s first secretary Kyaw Htay said during a press conference in Rangoon on Friday.
In response, the association called an emergency meeting on Jan. 26 to ask him to remain chairman until 2014. “We still need our chairman’s leadership. We request him to serve until our goals are reached,” Kyaw Htay said, adding that MGEA was awaiting Tay Za’s reply.
“Our association is going to implement a tax-free, value-added gem market, with an international standards gem laboratory as was instructed by our chairman,” he said, referring to a government-backed plan to open a gemstone trade and processing center in the capital Naypyidaw.
Tay Za has been MGEA chairman since 2007. After experiencing a helicopter crash on a mountain in Kachin State in February 2011, he also wanted to resign but the association convinced him to stay, according to Kyaw Htay.
The tycoon, who is in his late 40s, built a business empire by using his close connections with the powerful generals that ruled Burma until 2011. His company Htoo Trading Co. runs an airline, a bank, several hotels, and has interests in mining and agriculture.
Tay Za is on a Western sanctions list. In 2008, the US Treasury Department called him “an arms dealer and financial henchman of Burma’s repressive junta.”
Kyaw Htay maintained, however, that Tay Za was not resigning because his record was harming the MGEA, adding, “Our chairman has good reputation.”
He denied that Tay Za’s possible departure was an attempt to clean up Burma’s jade and gem industry, which also remains under US sanctions. “If our chairman is removed from his post, will the US government even remove sanctions on the gemstones industry or not?” Kyaw Htay asked.
The trade in gemstone resources has long served as a major source of revenue for Burma’s military and ruling elite, and their business cronies. US sanctions restricted trade in the stones but the measures have had little effect, as most jade and gems are sold to China and other Asian countries.
Last year, the US suspended some sanctions against Burma following political reforms. Restrictions on individuals connected to the previous regime and businesses such as the gemstone trade, remain in place.
Despite MGEA’s denials, there are some who say that Tay Za’s resignation is an attempt to clean up the industry’s reputation abroad.
Upper House member Hla Swe told Radio Free Asia on Jan. 18 that Tay Za’s resignation was connected to his listing in the US. He submitted a proposal to create a gem industry hub in Naypyidaw to Parliament in January.
It said Western sanctions remained a major obstacle for developing the lucrative industry, while noting that Tay Za’s chairmanship of the sector was not helping this situation.
Burma produces 90 percent of the world’s rubies, sapphires and fine-quality jade. It holds several sales fairs per year with sales valued at billions of dollars.
Most gem buyers come from China.
However, officials have said that gem sales have slumped after China’s economic growth slowed down and the Chinese government increased import taxes on Burmese products, doubling the taxes on jade and gems from 15 percent to 33 percent last year.
|05-02-2013, 06:36 PM||#12 (permalink)|
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|05-02-2013, 09:51 PM||#14 (permalink)|
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|08-02-2013, 10:06 AM||#17 (permalink)|
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|08-02-2013, 04:25 PM||#18 (permalink)|
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Mid think we could look into a lot of countries and see govt's doing the same.
|02-06-2013, 05:30 PM||#23 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Blacklisted Tay Za Takes Over Import-Export Services at Rangoon Airport
Saturday, June 1, 2013
A company owned by former Army regime crony and US-blacklisted Burmese businessman Tay Za has been given control of all import and export cargo handling services at Rangoon International Airport.
Mingalardon Cargo Services, a subsidiary of the Htoo Group of Companies, was awarded the concession by the Civil Aviation Department, which said there had been bids from three companies.
Mingalardon was already handling export cargo at the airport and the director general of the Civil Aviation Department, Tin Naing Tun, said this week that it would be more efficient if the same company handled imports as well.
A state enterprise had been processing imports until now.
“If we separate the two functions, complications will arise in balancing the business and investments,” Tin Naing Tun said in a media statement.
The concession is likely to be carried over to the new Hanthawaddy International Airport after its scheduled completion in 2017, Tin Naing Tun said.
The Htoo Group’s business interests are growing under Burma’s economic reforms and now include mining, farming, hotels, an airline and banking ventures.
Tay Za was placed on a US government blacklist for his close links with the former military regime of Than Shwe. In the past, he has been accused by the United States of involvement in weapons and drug trafficking, and money laundering.
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