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Charged US sanctions buster says he was misled by Vice-President Biden to think that US stance on sanctions on Zimbabwe had changed

A Chicago man, C. Gregory Turner, who is charged with illegally lobbying for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe on behalf of President Robert Mugabe’s government, says he was misled to think that Washington’s stance on sanctions had changed following a meeting between Vice-President Joseph Biden, then a senator, and Zimbabwe’s central bank governor, Gideon Gono, in Washington in 2006. Turner argues that Biden co-sponsored the reception though he was also one of the sponsors of the sanctions and he had a video showing Biden welcoming Gono whose term as governor ended last year. Turner argues that news of the warm reception that Gono received reached Zimbabwe where   he was working for a private organisation helping people in Zimbabwe. “Gregory Turner had been on the ground in Africa for humanitarian purposes for a long time. When the signal came from the US government and legislators that there might be a change to their position on sanctions, he had people come to Zimbabwe and see the effects of the sanctions,” Turner’s lawyer, James Tunick says. Turner is due for trial on 29 September. He was charged with Prince Asiel Ben Israel who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months.

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