Home » Sanctioned Israeli tycoon Dan Gertler linked to tens of millions in transactions at DRC bank

Sanctioned Israeli tycoon Dan Gertler linked to tens of millions in transactions at DRC bank

by Ishioma Emi

Months after the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, close associates linked to the mining tycoon made over $40 million in cash deposits and withdrawals through a subsidiary of Afriland First Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The bank’s auditor, PwC, notified them of a potential sanctions evasion, Haaretz reported.

In December 2017, the Treasury Department issued Executive Order 13818, implementing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act against Gertler and his businesses for corruption. The Treasury Department wrote in a statement that Gertler “amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

The Treasury added that: “Gertler has used his close friendship with DRC President Joseph Kabila to act as a middleman for mining asset sales in the DRC, requiring some multinational companies to go through Gertler to do business with the Congolese state. As a result, between 2010 and 2012 alone, the DRC reportedly lost over $1.36 billion in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler.”

However, shortly before then-U.S. President Donald Trump left office, the Treasury Department lifted the sanctions on Gertler on Jan. 15, 2021. The decision prompted the arm of the Human Rights Watch in the DRC to send a letter of protest to the Treasury Department on Feb. 2. The group requested the Biden administration to reconsider and reverse the sanctions.

Gertler is the founder and president of the DGI Group of Companies, which owns extensive diamond and copper mining interests in the DRC. 

Gertler is largely believed to have used his friendship with Joseph Kabila, then president of the DRC, to secure unfettered access to the country’s vast mineral resources, acquiring valuable mining deposits at significant discounts. 

Gertler has a net worth estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act is a law authorizing the U.S. government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the United States.

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