Myanmar shadow government raises $132m to oppose junta

Funds were also raised through the auction of military-linked properties, including two mansions owned by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing. PHOTO: AFP

YANGON - Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) said it has raised more than US$100 million (S$132 million) to fund its democracy effort and topple the junta. 

About 45 per cent of the funds are from the sales of so-called Spring Revolution Special Treasury Bonds, said Mr Tin Tun Naing, shadow minister for planning, finance and investment.

The debt does not pay interest and the capital will be repaid only when the democracy effort is successful. 

Funds were also raised through the auction of military-linked properties. While buyers will not have immediate access to the properties which they had successfully bid on and paid for, the NUG has promised they will be awarded the assets after the junta rule.

Among the real estate assets open for bids were two mansions owned by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and military-seized properties, Mr Tin Tun Naing said at a press briefing on Sunday.

The funds will be “effectively used in different sectors” to ensure positive results from the democracy fight in about a year, he said.

The shadow government will soon legalise an initial coin offering to put cryptocurrencies at the centre of its finance plan while accepting fixed deposits in the form of money transfers and crypto deposits in a bank that will be set up soon, Mr Tin Tun Naing said.

“To ensure the revolution will bear fruit in one year, we will make use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to establish the Spring Development Bank by the end of next month,” he said.

Anyone keen on funding the shadow government is encouraged to use its banking functions, which will be available in the first quarter of 2023, he said. 

The group previously tried to gain access to US$1 billion of funds frozen by the United States since February 2021, when Myanmar’s armed forces toppled the civilian government.

Allies of deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi make up the shadow government, which remains confident it can regain control of the entire country soon.

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 77, is serving a 33-year sentence after she was found guilty of a slew of criminal charges, including corruption and inciting dissent against the military.

The shadow government has earned three billion kyat (S$1.9 million) from collecting taxes in 38 out of 330 townships across Myanmar where resistance groups are in control.

It will also implement a programme where proceeds from natural resources and mining sectors will be used to build a crowdfunding platform, Mr Tin Tun Naing said. 

“Our investors know perfectly well they will benefit only if this revolution is successful, but they keep investing in our projects due to their belief,” he said, singling out an unidentified individual who has contributed US$6 million to the NUG’s plans. BLOOMBERG

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