Designations Represent Latest Efforts to Isolate Serious Human Rights Abusers and Corrupt Actors from the US. Financial System
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Dominican Republic Senator Felix Ramon Bautista Rosario (Bautista) for engaging in corrupt acts, including in relation to reconstruction efforts in Haiti, and Cambodian General Hing Bun Hieng (Bun Hieng) for being the leader of an entity involved in serious human rights abuse, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse and corruption. OFAC also designated five entities owned or controlled by Bautista.
“These actions are part of our continuing campaign to hold accountable government officials and other actors involved in human rights abuse and corrupt activities. Senator Bautista used his position to engage in corruption, including profiting off of humanitarian efforts related to rebuilding Haiti. General Bun Hieng commanded a Cambodian unit that engaged in a series of human rights abuses, and was personally implicated in attacks against a number of individuals, including a U.S. citizen,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “The United States will continue to use Global Magnitsky and our other authorities to ensure that corrupt actors and human rights violators cannot use our financial system to enable and support their abhorrent activities and exploit the innocent.”
Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016, on December 20, 2017, the President signed E.O. 13818 “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.
To date, 59 individuals and entities have been sanctioned under E.O. 13818. This is in addition to the numerous human rights and/or corruption related designations Treasury has issued under a number of sanctions programs, including actions taken yesterday in connection with migrant smuggling in Libya, and designations over the last month against Evin Prison, Ansar-e Hizballah and other human rights violators in Iran, officials in the IRGC-Qods Force disrupting humanitarian efforts in Yemen, Diosdado Cabello Rondon from Venezuela and members of his corruption network, and many others. Including today’s actions, OFAC has designated 33 individuals and entities related to human rights and corruption in just the last month. In total, since January of 2017, Treasury has taken action against over 460 individuals and entities engaged in activities related to, or directly involving, human rights abuse and/or corruption, including actions in connection with Syria, South Sudan, Democractic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and other programs.
This Administration will continue to take action against human rights and corruption related targets around the globe, including implementing sanctions under Global Magnitsky and other authorities, throughout the year.
This week Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory on human rights abuses enabled by corrupt senior foreign political figures and their financial facilitators to warn financial institutions about the tactics and typologies they are using across the globe.
FELIX RAMON BAUTISTA ROSARIO
Bautista is a Senator from the Dominican Republic who has engaged in significant acts of corruption in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and who has been publicly accused of money laundering and embezzlement. Bautista has reportedly engaged in bribery in relation to his position as a Senator, and is alleged to have engaged in corruption in Haiti, where he used his connections to win public works contracts to help rebuild Haiti following several natural disasters, including one case where his company was paid over $10 million for work it had not completed.
In a related action, OFAC designated five entities in the Dominican Republic that are owned or controlled by Bautista: Constructora Hadom SA, Soluciones Electricas Y Mecanicas Hadom S.R.L., Seymeh Ingenieria SRL, Inmobiliaria Rofi SA, and Constructora Rofi SA.
HING BUN HIENG
Bun Hieng is the commander of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit (PMBU), a unit in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces that has engaged in serious acts of human rights abuse against the people of Cambodia. The PMBU has been implicated in multiple attacks on unarmed Cambodians over the span of many years, including in 2013 at Wat Phnom and in 2015 in front of the National Assembly. In the 2015 incident, only three members of the PMBU were sent to jail after they confessed to participating in an attack on opposition lawmakers, and were promoted upon their release. Bun Hieng and the PMBU have been connected to incidents where military force was used to menace gatherings of protesters and the political opposition going back at least to 1997, including an incident where a U.S. citizen received shrapnel wounds.
As a result of these actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated today within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked. Additionally, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.