The United States Department of Treasury on Tuesday sanctioned a Chinese state-owned entity, Union Development Group Co., Ltd. (UDG) for the seizure and demolition of local Cambodians’ land during construction of the Dara Sakor project in Cambodia.
The sanctions by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), targets the perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, prohibit UDG from conducting business with any U.S. citizen, and cuts it off from the U.S. financial system, according to a press statement issued by the Department of OFAC.
"After falsely registering as a Cambodian-owned entity in order to receive land for the Dara Sakor development project, UDG reverted to its true ownership and continued to operate without repercussions," Steven T. Mnuchin, Department of the Treasury Secretary, said.
"The United States is committed to using the full range of its authorities to target these practices wherever they occur," he added.
Following the order, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tweeted, "Today, the United States imposed sanctions on PRC-owned Union Development Group, Ltd. for its role in corruption in Cambodia. We will not tolerate these actions against innocent people and will always stand with the Cambodian people."
"All property and interests in property of the entity above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by it, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC," the statement said.
Furthermore, the land granted to UDG as part of a lease by the Cambodian government extends into Botum Sakor National Park, a protected area that can only be handed over by royal decree. The Treasury Department stated that in order to obtain the land, UDG falsified its registration to hide its Chinese ownership. The Department further informed that China has used UDG's projects in Cambodia 'to advance ambitions to project power globally'.
"In order to receive the land, UDG registered itself as a Cambodian-owned company, headed by a Cambodian national, but nevertheless within three years of receiving the land, UDG switched back to being a Chinese-owned and operated company without repercussion," the statement read.
(With ANI inputs)