January 12, 2009

The Burma Campaign UK today called on the British Government to investigate if UK registered insurance companies have bribed the Burmese junta. The call follows insurance giant, Aon, being fined £5.25 million last week for financial crimes, including reportedly bribing a junta owned company.

“Corruption is endemic in Burma, the Financial Services Authority must now investigate all companies that have insured business in Burma, focusing on Lloyd’s of London. We know a number of Lloyd’s of London companies, including Catlin, Atrium and Kiln, have insured business in Burma – but the million dollar question is “have they bribed the junta?” said Johnny Chatterton, Campaigns Officer at the Burma Campaign UK. “This is a warning to all companies operating in Burma. By trading in Burma you are not only funding a murderous dictatorship but also exposing your company to million dollar fines and reputational disaster.”

In a letter to the British Government Anna Roberts, Director of the Burma Campaign UK wrote: “Given the widespread corruption in Burma we are concerned that (re)insurance companies operating in the Burmese market may have committed financial crimes in their dealings with businesses in the country.” Corruption is endemic in Burma; Transparency International ranks Burma as the second most corrupt country in the world in its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Many UK companies have provided (re)insurance services to companies in Burma, as detailed in the Burma Campaign UK report, Insuring Repression. Lloyd’s of London chairman Lord Levene was criticised by the Foreign Office in September 2008 for allowing Lloyd’s syndicates to insure companies in Burma.

Note to editors:
The Burma Campaign UK report, Insuring Repression is available here:http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/insurance.php
Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index is available here:http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008_table
The Times Article regarding the Aon fine is available here:http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article5477968.ece

For more details contact Johnny Chatterton on +44 (0)207 324 4710

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