Myanmar suspects coup protests funded by a group linked to Soros

Soros has been the target of conspiracy theories and disinformation on social media for years. (Reuters photo)

Naypyidaw: Official media said Myanmar authorities have detained an official from a foundation linked to billionaire philanthropist George Soros and are looking for 11 other employees on suspicion that the group transferred funds to opponents of the February 1 coup.

Opponents of the military rule launched a civil disobedience movement from strikes to pressure the generals to reverse their coup, release detained government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and acknowledge her party’s victory in the elections on 8 November.

A rights group said the military responded by suppressing pro-democracy protests, killing more than 180 people over a period of weeks, while taking legal action against Suu Kyi and others.

The Global New Light of Myanmar, which for years has been the mouthpiece of the military, said Open Society Myanmar (OSM) transferred the funds without permission from the Foreign Exchange Administration.

The newspaper said that the group then converted $ 1.4 million into the Myanmar currency, Kyat, “without following the necessary rules and regulations.”

It then indicated that unspecified NGOs are “providing cash assistance to the CDM movements.”

The newspaper said that the chief financial officer of Open Society Myanmar, Vieu Pa Pa Tho, has been questioned since last Friday about “this cash flow to the CDM movement.”

She added that authorities are looking for 11 other OSM employees for questioning.

Open Society Foundations says on its website that it is the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance and human rights.

Grants are awarded through a network of national and regional institutions and offices, and they finance a range of projects.

She says the Myanmar Foundation supports “civil society and groups representing marginalized people to encourage representative democracy to take root.”

Authoritarian governments regularly attack Soros and his organization for their work, and he has been the target of conspiracy theories and disinformation on social media for years.

The newspaper published a photo of Suu Kyi’s meeting with Soros in 2016 in New York and her meeting with his son Alexander Soros in Myanmar, but it did not link Suu Kyi or the Open Society Foundation to any irregular transfer of funds.

The Open Society Foundations did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

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