Info Birmanie and Justice For Myanmar call on French authorities to investigate Myanmar military linked HEC Paris student

April 26, 2024

Read in French

Info Birmanie and Justice For Myanmar urge the French government to swiftly investigate and freeze any assets of Theint Win Htet in France and revoke her visa.  

On April 3, 2024, the French lawyers William Bourdon and Lily Ravon, acting as counsel for Justice For Myanmar, reported Theint Win Htet to French authorities requesting that they freeze any of her assets in French territory and consider her removal from France. They also wrote to HEC Paris urging the school to notify French authorities of Theint Win Htet’s sources of funds and to consider revoking her admission.

HEC benefits from its status as a Consular Higher Education Institution (Etablissement d'Enseignement Supérieur Consulaire-EESC), and as such the CCI Paris Ile-de-France is one of its main shareholders. On April 5, 2024, Info Birmanie and Justice For Myanmar wrote to CCI Paris Ile-de-France to raise concerns about Theint Win Htet’s access to the HEC, HEC Investment Club and International Consulting Club, the implicit support that her admission may imply from the many business leaders and their institutions who sit on the board of directors, and risks related to the use of the knowledge and network in the Myanmar context.

Theint Win Htet is a member of the founding family of Shwe Byain Phyu Group of Companies, a Myanmar military linked crony conglomerate and, according to her LinkedIn profile, has been admitted to HEC Paris, an elite French business school.  

Shwe Byain Phyu Group is a major crony conglomerate with significant links to the Myanmar military, including a partnership to import petroleum with EU-sanctioned Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) and interests in the mining and timber industries, which are now dominated by EU-sanctioned state-owned enterprises that are under junta control.  

As a result of the family’s business with the Myanmar military junta and its conglomerates, the USA sanctioned Theint Win Htet, her brother Win Paing Kyaw, her parents Thein Win Zaw and Tin Latt Min, and Shwe Byain Phyu Group of Companies on January 31, 2024. In its sanctions announcement, the USA noted the role of Theint Win Htet, her brother and mother in “various companies that are closely related to the regime.”

In 2022, Shwe Byain Phyu Group took control of Telenor Myanmar, renamed ATOM Myanmar, putting the personal data of millions of users at risk amid the junta’s attempts to ramp up surveillance as part of its campaign of terror against the people of Myanmar.  

Since the military’s illegal coup attempt, Theint Win Htet has acted as a shareholder and director of One Telecom Company Limited, a company established during Shwe Byain Phyu’s acquisition of Telenor Myanmar. In 2023, Theint Win Htet did an internship at ATOM Myanmar as a financial analyst.

Theint Win Htet has also held shares in Min Shwe Myine Enterprise Limited, a Myanmar petroleum company that formed a consortium in 2022 to “to find reliable suppliers from Russia to tighten Myanmar Russia partnership.”

Theint Win Htet’s expenses are supported by her family, according to Justice For Myanmar sources.

Info Birmanie and Justice For Myanmar call on the EU to urgently impose sanctions on Shwe Byain Phyu Group and its owners and directors, including Theint Win Htet, and to increase its targeted sanctions to block the junta’s access to funds, arms, equipment and jet fuel, in coordination with its allies.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says:  

“The fact that Theint Win Htet is able to study in France is a further sign of the serious lack of coordination in sanctions imposed after the military’s illegal attempted coup.”  

“Theint Win Htet’s presence in France undermines EU sanctions on Shwe Byain Phyu Group’s business partners and undermines US sanctions on Theint Win Htet and her family members.

“France should swiftly investigate and freeze any assets in France belonging to Theint Win Htet or her family members and bar her from France.”  

“For more than three years, the people of Myanmar have courageously resisted the military’s failing attempted coup. France should stand on the side of the people and send a clear message that Myanmar cronies are not welcome in its territory.”

Info Birmanie coordinator Johanna Chardonnieras says:

"The integration of a student at HEC under American sanctions for her links with the Myanmar military junta, which is responsible for serious human rights violations, shows the laissez-faire approach to Myanmar.”  

"By sharing its knowledge and network with Theint Win Htet, HEC, its management, board of directors and shareholders are showing, at best, a flagrant lack of diligence in the admissions process, and at worst, a disregard for the Myanmar people's struggle for freedom.

"It is from France that Theint Win Htet continues to exercise her ownership in the Shwe Byain Phyu Group - generating revenue for the junta and contributing to the bloody repression of her fellow citizens. It is therefore up to the French government to take appropriate measures, as a corollary of its repeated condemnations of the military junta’s international crimes and exactions, and its repeated expressions of support towards the people of Myanmar."