World-Check Six Years Ahead of Latest OFAC Zimbabwean Sanctions

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World-Check was once again ahead of the sanctioning body as three of the four recently designated individuals had already been profiled by our researchers in early 2002.

On the 30th of January the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against two Zimbabwean entities and two individuals that contribute to the undermining of democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe. World-Check was once again ahead of the sanctioning body as three of the four designates had already been profiled by our researchers in early 2002.

According to OFAC, any assets of these individuals and entities that are within the United States or in the possession or control of any U.S. person must be blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with them. Significantly, World-Check's visual relationship mapping functionality enables institutions to trace the not-so-obvious secondary and tertiary relationships between primary heightened-risk individuals and their shadowy associates, financial vehicles and family members, making World-Check the ultimate "early warning system" against reputation risk.

"Alerting our clients to risk years ahead of official sanctioning bodies is our main driving motivator. We remain focused on continually identifying heightened risk individuals and entities, and our sustained investment in people and new technology has certainly proven to have paid off" said David Leppan, CEO and founder of World-Check. "Our continued client growth and a 97% client renewal rate for the past seven years confirm that our comprehensive database has proven its worth by keeping client institutions one step ahead of financial, regulatory and reputation risk."

Zidco Holdings is a financial holding company and was entered into the World-Check database in early 2002 for reportedly being owned by the political party, Zanu PF. It is alleged to be a major shareholder in the First Banking Corporation and Southern African Reinsurance. Zanu-PF, the governing party of Zimbabwe, is also believed to be an international business empire with a vast array of interests held through part ownership of Zidco Holdings. Set up shortly after Zimbabwean independence, Zidco has stakes in numerous aspects of the Zimbabwean economy, from property and duty-free shops to building materials and army supplies. Run by a southern African family originally from Malaysia, its assets and profits are a secretly guarded.

The Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company was entered into World-Check's database in March 2002. It is reportedly the publishing arm of ZANU (PF) and shares in this company are owned by M & S Syndicate and Zidco Holdings.

Leo Mugabe is a Zanu (PF) member in Makonde and nephew of Robert Mugabe. His profile was added to World-Check's database in early 2002. He is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communication. He is the former Chairman of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and was dismissed from this position in Jan 2003, amid a financial scandal where he reportedly benefited from the award of a cellular telephone system. In October 2005 he was arrested together with his wife and co-accused Veronica Mugabe, for alleged illegal exportation of 30 tons of flour into a neighbouring country. He was released on Z$50m bail (£11,000), surety of Z$700m and surrender of passport. In November 2005 corruption charges against him were withdrawn due to lack of evidence.

World-Check provides its global open source intelligence database to more than 2500 institutions in 153 countries, including 47 of the world's 50 largest financial institutions, and 200 enforcement and regulatory agencies in over 90 countries. The database is updated daily in real-time by World-Check's international research team, and is derived from hundreds of thousands of public sources. Coverage includes Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), money launderers, fraudsters, terrorists and sanctioned entities - plus individuals and businesses from over a dozen other high-risk categories. World-Check's database and tools find direct application in financial compliance, anti-money laundering (AML), Know-Your-Customer (KYC), PEP screening, enhanced due diligence (EDD), fraud prevention, government intelligence and other identity authentication, background screening and risk-prevention practices.


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Marion Willson