US sanctions firms for rights abuses on Anti-Corruption Day

Dec 9, 2022, 7:43 AM | Updated: Dec 11, 2022, 2:27 am
FILE - The Treasury Building is viewed in Washington, May 4, 2021.  The Treasury Department says it...

FILE - The Treasury Building is viewed in Washington, May 4, 2021. The Treasury Department says it's sanctioning a group of companies and people linked to illegal fishing operations and human rights abuses in Chinese waters. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Friday it is imposing sanctions on a broad array of people and companies around the world for corruption and human rights abuses — from illegal fishing operations in Chinese waters to kickbacks in Guatemala — in recognition of International Anti-Corruption Day.

Those sanctioned include the 15-member Russian elections commission, which oversaw a sham referendum in Russia-occupied Ukraine in September, a group of companies and people linked to illegal fishing operations and human rights abuses in Chinese waters and a church founder in the Philippines charged with sex trafficking.

Other people and firms from Iran, the Western Balkans, Liberia and El Salvador were also among those identified by the U.S. federal government for financial penalties and blocks on property located or managed in the U.S.

The wide-sweeping sanctions announcement comes on the day that the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and aligns with Biden administration officials’ participation in the International Anti-Corruption Conference this week. The conference lineup includes speeches by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan and other officials who endorsed various anti-corruption efforts domestically and worldwide.

The sanctions targets announced Friday include a group of companies accused of illegal fishing and worker abuse in Chinese waters. One company, Dalian Ocean Fishing Co. Ltd., maintained working conditions so dangerous that five workers died after 13 months at sea, with three of the workers’ bodies dumped into the ocean rather than repatriated to their homes.

A senior department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the U.S. action, said on a call with reporters that Dalian employs crew members who work an average of 18 hours a day, live off expired food and drink dirty water.

Illegal unreported fishing is associated with distant water fishing, where boats fish in other countries’ or international waters. China’s distant water fishing fleet is the largest in the world.

Additionally, three politicians from Guatemala, including Allan Estuardo Rodriguez Reyes, the country’s former president of the Congress, face sanctions for alleged corruption and using political influence to get kickbacks and other favors.

And in Russia, several presidential administration officials and the country’s elections commission will be blocked from the U.S. financial system. A U.S. Treasury statement says that for years the Kremlin’s elections commission has touted “clean and transparent elections in Russia that have been riddled with irregularities and credible accusations that the Kremlin has carefully managed the results.”

The sanctioned people and companies’ property and interests in the U.S. will be blocked and American companies that do business with the sanctioned entities will have to wind down their ties with them.

The administration uses a Trump-era executive order that implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act as its authority to issue the sanctions.

“Over the past year, Treasury has made combatting corruption and serious human rights abuse a top priority,” said Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson in a statement. “By exposing the egregious behavior of these actors, we can help disrupt their activities, dismantle their networks, and starve them of resources.”

Treasury is pursuing more anti-corruption efforts in the future, by soon creating a database that will contain personal information on the owners of at least 32 million U.S. businesses as part of an effort to combat illicit finance.

Sullivan said at the anti-corruption conference earlier this week that the administration supports the ENABLERS Act, which would expand the definition of the Bank Secrecy Act — and would require accountants, lawyers and other professionals to conduct due diligence checks on their clients’ money, to ensure it doesn’t derive from money laundering.

Right now the Bank Secrecy Act only applies to financial institutions. “We encourage Congress to enact it into law as soon as possible,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks before the arrival of President Joe Biden at ...
Associated Press

Companies pledge millions in fed effort to stem road deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 50 businesses and nonprofits — including rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, industrial giant 3M and automaker Honda — are pledging millions of dollars in initiatives to stem a crisis in road fatalities under a new federal effort announced Friday. It’s part of the Department of Transportation’s “Call to Action” campaign, which […]
4 hours ago
This grab from video released by Adani Enterprises Ltd. on Thursday, Feb.2, 2023 shows Indian billi...
Associated Press

Indian tycoon Adani hit by more losses, calls for probe

NEW DELHI (AP) — Trading in shares in troubled Adani Enterprises gyrated Friday as the flagship company of India’s second-largest conglomerate tumbled 30% and then rebounded after more than a week of heavy losses that have cost it tens of billions of dollars in market value. The debacle, which led Adani to cancel a share […]
4 hours ago
A person wearing a protective mask walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikk...
Associated Press

Global shares trade mixed ahead of US jobs report

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were trading mixed Friday ahead of a closely watched U.S. jobs report that may affect global interest rates. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.7% in early trading to 7,116.31, while Germany’s DAX dipped 0.9% to 15,362.64. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2% to 7,832.20. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with […]
1 day ago
FILE - Travelers wearing face masks with their luggage head to the immigration counter at the depar...
Associated Press

China, Hong Kong scrap cross-border travel quota, COVID test

HONG KONG (AP) — Travel between Hong Kong and China will no longer require COVID-19 PCR tests nor be held to a daily limit, authorities announced Friday, as both places seek to drive economic growth. Hong Kong’s tourism industry has suffered since 2019 after months of political strife that at times turned into violent clashes […]
1 day ago
Peter Ellingwood delivers heating oil, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, in Farmington, Maine. On Friday, the...
Associated Press

January may have delivered lower, if still solid, job growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The American economy has an unusual problem: The job market looks too strong — at least to the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve. Companies are still seeking more workers and are hanging tightly onto the ones they have. Putting aside some high-profile layoffs at big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon […]
1 day ago
FILE - Attendees walk past a booth advertising 5G telecommunications services at the PT Expo in Bei...
Associated Press

Chill pervades China’s tech firms even as crackdown eases

HONG KONG (AP) — A grinding crackdown that wiped billions of dollars of value off Chinese technology companies is easing, but the once-freewheeling industry is bracing for much slower growth ahead. Analysts say China’s easing of restrictions on companies like e-commerce giant Alibaba and online games company Tencent and talk of support for the private […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
US sanctions firms for rights abuses on Anti-Corruption Day