Burma’s military chief spends $2 million on lobbyists to broker contracts

According to documents submitted to the U.S. government, the Burmese military government hired an Israeli-Canadian lobbyist for $2 million to help explain “the facts of the coup” to the U.S. and other countries in exchange for lifting sanctions, according to a Central News Agency (CNA) report in Washington, D.C., March 10.

Under the consultancy contract, the lobbyist, AriBen-Menashe, and his firm, Dickens & Madson Canada, will represent the Burmese junta in Washington, D.C., lobbying Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Russia and the United Nations, among others.

The contract was submitted to the Department of Justice today to comply with the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. According to the agreement, Ban Monahi’s company will “assist in the conception and implementation of favorable policies for the Republic of the Union of Burma and help explain the real situation in Burma.

A spokesman for the Burmese military government did not respond to Reuters’ inquiries.

Ban Munahi’s client base is well known and includes military rulers of African countries such as the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Legal experts say Ban Munahi fears violating U.S. sanctions against Burma’s military chiefs.

Ban Monahi told Reuters on June 6 that his mission is to convince the U.S. that Myanmar’s military wants to move closer to the West and away from China, adding that military generals want RohingyaMuslims who fled a violent crackdown in 2017 to return Home. The UN has previously accused the Burmese military of being responsible for the genocide.

In response, John Sifton, director of Asian affairs at Human Rights Watch, said, “The claims he intends to make are hard to believe will be enough to convince the United States.”

Other documents presented by Ban Monahi show that he had an agreement with Mya Tun Oo, the defense minister of Burma’s military government, to be paid $2 million for helping to lift international sanctions imposed on the military government.

According to Reuters, more than 60 protesters have been killed and 1,900 arrested in the crackdown since the military seized power in a coup on Feb. 1, detaining civilian government leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and setting off mass demonstrations.