Chicago Man Jailed for Acting as High-Priced U.S. Lobbyist for Sanctioned Dictator of Zimbabwe

Saturday, January 24, 2015
C. Gregory Turner (photo: Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune)

A Chicago man is going to prison for illegally lobbying on behalf of Zimbabwe’s dictator.


C. Gregory Turner, 72, attempted to convince the Obama administration to lift the U.S. government sanctions against the southern African country. Turner and a friend, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, received $3.4 million from the regime of Robert Mugabe to win favoritism in Washington, according to the Chicago Tribune. Ben Israel pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to seven months in prison.


Turner’s actions, which included organizing Illinois lawmakers to advocate for the sanctions removal, landed him in federal court. He was accused of conspiracy and two counts of failing to register as a foreign lobbyist. He avoided prosecution on the latter charges, but was found guilty of the first.


He claimed to be acting on behalf of the Zimbabwean people, portraying his lobbying as a humanitarian mission. Judge Elaine Bucklo didn’t buy Turner’s argument, and sentenced him to 15 months in federal prison.


Mugabe has ruled his nation since 1980, becoming one of Africa’s most ruthless dictators. Human rights abuses have abounded, and the country has suffered a massive financial collapse, with hyperinflation and withdrawal of foreign and domestic investment.


The U.S. during the George W. Bush administration imposed travel restrictions against senior Zimbabwean officials and embargoed the sale of arms to the country.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Chicagoan Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Lobbying for Zimbabwe (by Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune)

Prison Time for Chicago Man Who Aided Mugabe (Courthouse News Service)

Chicago Man Sentenced For Lobbying to Lift Mugabe Sanctions (by Samuel Rubenfeld, Wall Street Journal)

Zimbabwe Hospital Charged Women for Each Scream During Childbirth (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Finds New Export to Zimbabwe…Coins (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Policeman Jailed for Using Zimbabwean Dictator’s Toilet (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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