U.S. to announce sanctions next week marking Biden's democracy summit

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Biden delivers remarks on the November jobs report at the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department will impose a series of sanctions next week to mark the U.S. Summit for Democracy, targeting people engaged in corruption, serious human rights abuse and who undermine democracy, among others, a Treasury Department spokesperson said on Friday.

The Treasury declined to provide specifics on those facing sanctions. The plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Treasury will also announce proposals designed to close loopholes that allow corrupt officials to exploit the real estate market and to address gaps in the corporate transparency network that allow corruption to flourish and illicit proceeds to flow into the United States, the spokesperson said.

“Treasury will take a series of actions to designate individuals who are engaged in malign activities that undermine democracy and democratic institutions around the world including corruption, repression, organized crime, and serious human rights abuse,” the spokesperson said.

The first-of-its-kind gathering next week is a test of President Joe Biden's assertion, announced in his first foreign policy address in office in February, that he would return the United States to global leadership to confront authoritarian forces led by China and Russia.

Rights groups question if Biden's conference can push those world leaders who are invited, some accused of harboring authoritarian tendencies, to take meaningful action.

There are 110 participants on the State Department's invitation list for the virtual event on Dec. 9 and 10, which aims to help stop democratic backsliding and the erosion of rights and freedoms worldwide. The list does not include China or Russia.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; editing by Grant McCool)

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