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4 Zimbabweans, Banks Removed From US Sanctions List

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Md., Feb. 3, 2016.

The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has removed four Zimbabwean individuals and three Zimbabwean entities from its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.

Among the five individuals removed, three are deceased - former cabinet ministers Amos Bernard Muvenga Midzi and Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu and former Zanu PF Politburo member Stanley Sakupwanya.

Ndlovu’s widow, Rose Jaele Ndlovu, and one individual and Thai national Nalinee Taveesin petitioned for removal and was determined to no longer meet the Specially Designated Nationals criteria.

Taveesin is a former Thailand government minister. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Nalinee in 2008, was designated as one of four “Mugabe regime cronies” by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The OFAC’s 2008 statement was strongly worded, particularly in reference to Taveesin. “Ironically,” it said, “Nalinee Taveesin has participated in a number of initiatives on corruption and growth challenges in Africa and Southeast Asia while secretly supporting the kleptocratic practices of one of Africa's most corrupt regimes.”

The OFAC statement became a point of controversy in Thailand when Taveesin was appointed minister for the prime minister’s office in January 2012. She strongly denied the allegations, saying that her relationship with the Mugabe's is “strictly social” and that she is a victim of guilt by association.

A senior official from the Treasury Department told VOA that, “The United States regularly reviews and updates its SDN list, including those listings related to Zimbabwe. The removals were based on the determination that circumstances no longer warrant the inclusion of the individuals and entities on the SDN List. “

Following the removal of these five individuals and three entities, the Treasury Department says 98 individuals and 66 entities related to Zimbabwe remain on the SDN list.