Finnish firm denies maintaining ties to sanctioned company

Finnish technology and manufacturing firm Wärtsilä has denied engaging in business with sanctioned entities in Myanmar. This is after leaked documents tying the company and a firm once headed by a known military arms broker.

The Helsinki-based enterprise remains active in Myanmar after securing bids in early 2022 to develop solar hybrid power stations in the region. The MCM Group was represented in the proposals by two of its subsidiaries.

Wärtsilä was forced to withdraw from the partnership after revelations that Aung Hlaing Oo, the head of MCM, has served as an arms broker to the Myanmar military. The European Union warned private companies, against conducting business with the junta’s arms brokers after the 2021 coup.

Wärtsilä claims to have complied with the sanctions and says to have completed the necessary due diligence to ensure that neither Aung Hlaing Oo nor any MCM Group companies are parties to its ongoing contracts in Myanmar.

Document raises questions

Yet the recent surfacing of a 2022 document, appearing to be from a Wärtsilä project manager, raises questions about whether the company’s ties with the firm has been dissolved.

The document was initially received by activist group Justice for Myanmar and seen by Myanmar Now. It describes the supply of equipment by Wärtsilä to MCM throughout 2022. Wärtsilä’s corporate media representatives said to Myanmar Now that the letter had been forged.

“Based on an internal review by our legal team we can conclude that it is a forgery,” the representatives said.

The media representatives added that Wärtsilä has not sold or shipped engines to MCM as outlined in the document. Nor have the company been involved in any transactions with MCM during the period.

MCM did not respond to Myanmar Now’s email requests for a comment.


About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Miabell Mallikka

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *