OFAC Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

Due to the Zimbabwe government undermining the political process in its country, OFAC imposed sanctions via Executive Order 13288. This Executive Order declared the political situation in Zimbabwe to be a national emergency and permitted the United States government to designate certain business entities and individuals who were deemed to be guilty of disturbing the democratic process in Zimbabwe. Some Zimbabwe senior government officials and other individuals who are responsible for human rights abuses and corruption have been designated and can be found on the US Office of Foreign Assets Controls search list.

Purpose of Zimbabwe Sanctions

As with most OFAC sanctions, the purpose of the Zimbabwe Sanctions is to change the behavior of their administration and government. It is the hope of the United States government that Zimbabwe will change its actions and conform to democratic ideals. African leaders have requested that the United States remove the OFAC Sanctions against Zimbabwe. However, those sanctions were recently extended for another year.

Due to the corrupt Zimbabwe government and the financial restrictions caused by the OFAC sanctions, Zimbabwe has a currency crisis and near-constant financial issues. It is crucial to conduct the necessary due diligence before engaging in any transactions in or with the country of Zimbabwe.

Impact of OFAC Sanctions

Although the Zimbabwe sanctions put pressure on their government, they also may hurt the people of Zimbabwe. The restriction can impact innocent people who may depend on the Zimbabwe government.

It is essential to be wary of doing business with any Zimbabwe entity or person. Likewise, any potential good or service that could be provided to a person or entity in Zimbabwe or for their benefit, must be screened to ensure that they will not have end-users in Zimbabwe unless specifically permitted by a General license. You should consult with an experienced sanctions lawyer before engaging in any business or transaction relating to Zimbabwe sanctions.

Sanctions against Zimbabwe have evolved over the years, with measures targeting specific individuals, entities, and sectors deemed to be contributing to undermining democratic processes, human rights abuses, corruption, or other activities contrary to U.S. foreign policy objectives. These sanctions may include asset freezes, trade restrictions, and prohibitions on engaging in certain types of transactions with designated persons or entities.

How an OFAC Lawyer Can Help

Generally, US entities and persons are prohibited from conducting any business or personal transaction with a SDN person or entity on the Zimbabwe program. This includes entities that are 60% or more owned by a person or entity on the SDN List. However, some transactions are exempt. The civil penalties for violating the Zimbabwe sanctions can be substantial. So, it is vital that you seek the counsel of a knowledgeable OFAC lawyer before engaging in any type of transaction relating to Zimbabwe. An OFAC Attorney can provide vital assistance, including:

  • Compliance and Due Diligence: An OFAC lawyer can help businesses ensure compliance with applicable sanctions regulations. This includes conducting thorough due diligence on potential business partners, customers, or counterparties to verify compliance with OFAC sanctions lists and regulations. By conducting proper due diligence, businesses can mitigate the risk of inadvertently engaging with sanctioned entities or individuals.
  • Licensing and Authorizations: In certain circumstances, businesses may need to seek licenses or authorizations from OFAC to engage in transactions that would otherwise be prohibited under the sanctions regime. An experienced OFAC lawyer can assist businesses in navigating the complex process of applying for and obtaining such licenses, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation: OFAC lawyers can help businesses assess and mitigate the risks associated with conducting transactions involving Zimbabwe or entities within the country. This includes identifying potential legal and reputational risks, developing risk mitigation strategies, and implementing internal controls and compliance programs to prevent violations of sanctions regulations.
  • Compliance Training and Education: OFAC lawyers can provide training and educational resources to businesses and their employees to raise awareness of sanctions regulations and compliance obligations. By investing in compliance training, businesses can empower their employees to recognize and address potential sanctions-related issues proactively, reducing the risk of inadvertent violations.

If you need guidance regarding OFAC sanctions or about permitted transactions, speak with an experienced OFAC attorney.

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