YANGON, Myanmar — The United Nations children’s agency has defended a decision to pay nearly $90,000 a month for its new office in Myanmar — a three-story house owned by the family of an ex-army general who was under with US sanctions during the country’s dictatorship.

UNICEF said in a press release Thursday it carried out an ‘‘extensive search,’’ looking at more than 40 locations, before signing the deal.

Without mentioning the name of the Major General Nyunt Tin — whose family owns the property — UNICEF said he no longer holds public office and was not currently subject to criminal charges or international sanctions.


Nyunt Tin was one of the most powerful ministers under the former junta regime led by Than Shwe.

Myanmar has implemented sweeping reforms since handing power to a nominally civilian government three years ago. However, former generals, business cronies, and drug lords tied to the old regime still control many of the country’s most lucrative assets and continue to benefit financially as foreign investors and aid groups flock to the country.