Local June 12, 2018 | 8:25 pm

US freezes assets of Dominican senator linked to ex-president

L. Fernandez, Victor Diaz Rua, F. Bautista. File

Santo Domingo.-. The United States on Tuesday froze the assets of Dominican senator Felix Bautista Rosario, whom it accused of acts of corruption related to the reconstruction of Haiti after several natural disasters, the Treasury Dept.’s Office for the Control of Foreign Assets (OFAC) reports.

It said that it also prohibited American natural and legal persons from making financial and commercial transactions with Bautista Rosario and five related companies: Constructora Hadom SA, Hadom SRL Electrical and Mechanical Solutions, Seymeh Ingeniería SRL, Inmobiliaria Rofi SA and Constructora Rofi SA.

“Senator Bautista used his position to incur corruption, including profit with humanitarian efforts related to reconstruction in Haiti,” Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement.

Washington said that Bautista Rosario has been publicly accused of money laundering and that after moving influence he obtained a contract from the Haitian government for 10 million dollars for reconstruction work but did not complete the works.

The sanctions are covered by the Magnitsky law adopted by Congress in 2012. The legislation is named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison after denouncing a tax fraud involving Russian officials. The law was expanded in 2016 to allow the United States to address human rights violations in any country, not just in Russia.

OFAC said it had sanctioned since January 2017 33 people and companies linked to the violation of human rights and corruption in at least 10 countries.

The United States sanctioned the Dominican businessman Angel Rondón Rijo last year after he was arrested and accused by the Dominican authorities of receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

The report from Washington: – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Dominican Republic Senator Felix Ramon Bautista Rosario (Bautista) for engaging in corrupt acts, including in relation to reconstruction efforts in Haiti, and Cambodian General Hing Bun Hieng (Bun Hieng) for being the leader of an entity involved in serious human rights abuse, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse and corruption. OFAC also designated five entities owned or controlled by Bautista.

“These actions are part of our continuing campaign to hold accountable government officials and other actors involved in human rights abuse and corrupt activities.  Senator Bautista used his position to engage in corruption, including profiting off of humanitarian efforts related to rebuilding Haiti.

General Bun Hieng commanded a Cambodian unit that engaged in a series of human rights abuses, and was personally implicated in attacks against a number of individuals, including a U.S. citizen,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

“The United States will continue to use Global Magnitsky and our other authorities to ensure that corrupt actors and human rights violators cannot use our financial system to enable and support their abhorrent activities and exploit the innocent.”

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY

Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016, on December 20, 2017, the President signed E.O. 13818 “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems.

Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets.

The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.

To date, 59 individuals and entities have been sanctioned under E.O. 13818. This is in addition to the numerous human rights and/or corruption related designations Treasury has issued under a number of sanctions programs, including actions taken yesterday in connection with migrant smuggling in Libya, and designations over the last month against Evin Prison, Ansar-e Hizballah and other human rights violators in Iran, officials in the IRGC-Qods Force disrupting humanitarian efforts in Yemen, Diosdado Cabello Rondon from Venezuela and members of his corruption network, and many others.

Including today’s actions, OFAC has designated 33 individuals and entities related to human rights and corruption in just the last month. In total, since January of 2017, Treasury has taken action against over 460 individuals and entities engaged in activities related to, or directly involving, human rights abuse and/or corruption, including actions in connection with Syria, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and other programs.

This Administration will continue to take action against human rights and corruption related targets around the globe, including implementing sanctions under Global Magnitsky and other authorities, throughout the year.

This week Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory on human rights abuses enabled by corrupt senior foreign political figures and their financial facilitators to warn financial institutions about the tactics and typologies they are using across the globe.

FELIX RAMON BAUTISTA ROSARIO

Bautista is a Senator from the Dominican Republic who has engaged in significant acts of corruption in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and who has been publicly accused of money laundering and embezzlement. Bautista has reportedly engaged in bribery in relation to his position as a Senator, and is alleged to have engaged in corruption in Haiti, where he used his connections to win public works contracts to help rebuild Haiti following several natural disasters, including one case where his company was paid over $10 million for work it had not completed.

In a related action, OFAC designated five entities in the Dominican Republic that are owned or controlled by Bautista: Constructora Hadom SA, Soluciones Electricas Y Mecanicas Hadom S.R.L., Seymeh Ingenieria SRL, Inmobiliaria Rofi SA, and Constructora Rofi SA.

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