As reported by Bloomberg, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia Jackson Cox said that following the sentencing of U.S. citizen Justin Kapla to more than five years in prison, that discussions of Mongolia receiving aid from the U.S. should be suspended.
Bloomberg reported, “A suspension would be the first direct financial impact felt in Mongolia after a court sentenced Kapla, a native of Elk River, Minnesota, and two Philippine nationals to between five and six years in prison on the charge of tax evasion.
“The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. foreign aid agency, gave Mongolia 285 million USD over five years in a first agreement that concluded in September 2013. The MCC forms ‘partnerships with some of the world’s poorest countries, but only those committed to good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens,’ according to its website.”
Cox is now calling for the immediate suspension of talks on a second round of aid .
The UB Post spoke to the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia for clarification of their statement and AmCham’s influence on the issuing of aid from the U.S., following a backlash of crticism in Mongolian media.
An AmCham representative said, “We didn’t say to cancel aid, but as the representative organization of all U.S. investment companies, we are voicing an objection to the court’s decision, which violates human rights, and suggested postponing the aid for a definite period of time. In other words, we are delivering the message of unhappy U.S. company representatives in regards to the court’s decision.”
U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Piper Anne Wind Campbell, who attended the trial, has said that there were interpreting problems for the defendants at the trial, and MP Ts.Oyungerel told Bloomberg that the court’s decision was “unjust and unbelievable”.
The U.S. Embassy in Mongolia declined to comment on Bloomberg’s story about the statement from AmCham.