PRISON SENTENCE FOR LOBBYING TO LIFT ZIMBABWE SANCTIONS IN USA

We reported last year that 2 men were being prosecuted in the federal District Court in Chicago for engaging in “public relations, political consulting and lobbying” US officials to lift sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and others on the US Zimbabwe sanctions list, in exchange for the promise of payment.

One of them, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, has today been sentenced to 7 1/2 months in prison. He had pleaded guilty to trying to persuade US government officials, including an Illinois state senator and two US representatives from Chicago, to push for the lifting of the sanctions imposed in 2003 on President Robert Mugabe and other Zimbabwean government officials.  His co-defendant C Gregory Turner has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

The position of the US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is that lobbying is not covered by an OFAC licence authorising the provision of legal services to people on a US sanctions list, and is therefore a criminal offence. Although OFAC licences authorise “representation of persons before any federal or state agency with respect to the imposition, administration, or enforcement of U.S. sanctions against such persons”, OFAC does not consider Congress or State legislatures to be  “agencies”.

This entry was posted in USA, Zimbabwe by Maya Lester QC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.

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