2nd February 2021 – (Hong Kong) Min Aung Hlaing, the Burmese army general who is the current State Leader of Myanmar and Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces seized power after overthrowing the elected government in a coup d’état on 1st February 2021.
According to the information, embattled media tycoon Jimmy Lai who is currently in remand planned to invest in Myanmar in the early years of his Next Digital business. It is suspected that through his close aide, Mark Simon, he gave Min Aung Hlaing an expensive watch as a gift to foster their relationship in exchange for investment opportunities.
Jimmy Lai had frequent contacts with Myanmar’s political and business circles, including the military government and opposition figures. He visited Myanmar in mid-January 2013 for 4 days, accompanied by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (Paul Wolfowitz) and met with officials from the local Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Commerce and Trade and even the chairman of the Central Bank of Myanmar.
An online group photo shows Jimmy Lai, Wolfowitz, Mark Simon, Min Aung Hlaing with a group of high-ranking Burmese army. Mark Simon got to know the local politicians through the Myanmar businessman Phone Win. The latter sent an email to Mark Simon in June 2013 to remind the counterparty to present a watch to Min Aung Hlaing, suspected of bribing the other party in exchange for conducting business locally. In addition, Jimmy Lai was alleged to have donated many times to Yuza Maw Htoon, an opposition figure in Myanmar. For the first time in July 2013, he donated more than US$161,000 (about HK$1.25 million) and in September 2013, he donated about US$14.5 million (about HK$1.13 million). According to data, Yuza Maw Htoon once participated in the national elections in Myanmar and was the founder of two local NGOs.