Home » Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler to return oil and mining assets after deal with Congo gov’t

Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler to return oil and mining assets after deal with Congo gov’t

by Omokolade Ajayi

Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire businessman, has inked an agreement with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through one of his companies, Ventora Development Group, as the tycoon works to restore ownership of mining and oil assets to the government.

The deal ends a protracted legal dispute between the Congolese government and Gertler’s Ventora Group.

Gertler, who owns diamond and copper mining interests in the DRC and has invested billions of dollars in iron ore, gold, cobalt, oil, agriculture and banking, has come under fire since the United States imposed sanctions on him and his companies in December 2017 and June 2018.

The sanctions were imposed in response to suspicions that the tycoon was using his connections with former DRC President Joseph Kabila to secure lucrative mining contracts in the country.

In response, the anti-corruption movement, Congo is Not for Sale, launched a financial analysis suggesting that the DRC lost up to $3.71 billion from mining and oil transactions with Gertler between 2003 and 2021.

This is in addition to $1.76 billion in possible royalty payments from copper and cobalt mining partnerships that the mineral-rich country would have possibly lost in total through arrangements with the Israeli billionaire between 2021 and 2039, according to the anti-corruption group.

Gertler has rejected all claims of corruption and has never been charged with any crime.

However, the extensive claims of corruption and controversy have resulted in the formal cancellation of a multiyear contract following discussions between a government committee and Gertler’s Ventora Development.

Following the expiration of the multiyear contract, Ventora Development announced that it will relinquish ownership of key mining and oil assets to the DRC government.

The latest step comes nearly eight months after the DRC government announced that it will withdraw exploration permits awarded in 2010 to two businesses controlled by Gertler.

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