A British Minister on Monday refused to disclose information on business transactions of Zimbabwean businessman Billy Rautenbach who has been reported to have close links with President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Lord Sassoon had been asked by Lord Chidgey whether the British government had granted a licence to release funds to Rautenbach or any business linked to him in 2009 when he was on the European Union sanctions list.
Lord Sassoon said he could not confirm or deny any information on Rautenbach because of personal confidentiality.
He said that Rautenbach also known as Conrad Muller Rautenbach was placed on EU sanctions on 27 January 2009 and delisted on 23 February 2012.
Lord Sassoon said however, all EU financial sanctions regulations included grounds under which licences can be issued authorising payments or actions otherwise prohibited.
The British government considered all licence applications on a case-by-case basis against the licensing grounds of the relevant regulation and the purpose of the sanctions.
“Article 7 of EU Regulation 314/2004 sets out the grounds under which Member States can consider issuing a licence in respect of the Zimbabwe Regulation. However, for reasons of personal confidentiality, I regret that the Treasury is not able either to confirm or deny the information requested about named individuals,” he said.
Rautenbach is said to have close links to ZANU-PF, especially with Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.