Feds charge 2 Chicago men with allegedly trying to help Zimbabwe get US sanctions lifted

CHICAGO – Federal prosecutors have charged two Chicago men with allegedly violating U.S. law by agreeing to help Zimbabwe's president get sanctions against his country lifted.

The charges were unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago against 72-year-old Prince Asiel Ben Israel and 71-year-old C. Gregory Turner.

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The complaint says the men met with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gov. Gideon Gono and other officials “multiple times” in the U.S. and Africa. They allegedly agreed to lobby U.S. federal and state officials on Zimbabwe’s behalf in exchange for $3.4 million.

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Ben Israel’s attorney, Viviana Ramirez, says it’s too early to address the merits of the case. Turner is believed to be living in Israel.

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Mugabe’s government has been under sanctions since 2003 for alleged democratic violations.