Treasury extends sanctions in Belarus to target sovereign debt


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(Bloomberg) – The Treasury Department has placed restrictions on new issuance of Belarusian sovereign debt as the United States and its allies step up pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

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In addition to banning transactions and financing of Belarusian sovereign debt sold in the primary and secondary markets, the Treasury’s Foreign Assets Control Office also designated 20 people and 12 entities for sanctions and identified three planes as stranded assets.

“The United States stands with its international partners and allies in imposing costs on the Lukashenko regime for its deplorable behavior, including the smuggling of migrants,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki in the press release. “The Treasury will continue to work with the international community to fight against repression, corruption and the erosion of internationally recognized human rights by the Lukashenko regime.

The move marks the fifth time the Treasury has imposed a package of sanctions against Belarus since the country’s presidential election in August 2020, which the United States said was fraudulent. The Treasury said the action was taken in coordination with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada. The EU on Thursday approved new sanctions against 17 people and 11 entities in Belarus, including oil producer Belarusneft, as well as Belarusian border officials and judges.

Allies accused Lukashenko of orchestrating a migrant crisis by allegedly luring migrants to the country’s borders with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in retaliation for growing sanctions imposed by the bloc for its crackdown on opposition protests following the contested presidential election last year.

US sanctions target Belarusian new sovereign debt with a maturity greater than 90 days issued from December 9, 2021. They also target tourism company, state-owned freight carrier, potash export companies and defense as well as Belarusian security officials. and officials close to the Lukashenko family.

Lukashenko’s government “attracts migrants, including many families with young children, to visit Belarus by coordinating the issuance of visas, increasing flights from the Middle East to Belarus, and then transporting people to Belarus. borders of EU member states, ”according to the Treasury Department. said in the press release. “Once at the border, Belarusian authorities direct and force migrants to cross the border to facilitate their passage into the EU. Belarusian authorities are not allowing them to return to Minsk, so many migrants are now stranded at the Belarusian border, exposed to harsh winter conditions that have already claimed the lives of at least a dozen vulnerable people.

(Updates with European Union sanctions in fourth paragraph)

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