Home » Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler to receive $250 million from Congolese govt

Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler to receive $250 million from Congolese govt

by Mfonobong Nsehe

According to a settlement agreement published by the government, the Democratic Republic of the Congo will pay more than $250 million to Ventora Development Group, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, to settle a dispute over two oil blocks.

Gertler is the founder and president of the DGI Group, which owns diamond and copper mining interests in the DRC and has invested billions of dollars in iron ore, gold, cobalt, oil, agriculture, and banking.

The move comes after the government signed an agreement with the businessman to reclaim ownership of mining and oil assets and end a protracted legal dispute with Gertler’s Ventora Group.

The settlement agreement, signed on Feb. 24 by Congo Justice Minister Rose Mutombo Kiese and Ventora Development Manager Henri Tungavo Ntoko, states that Ventora agreed to transfer to the state oil permits for Blocs One and Two of Lake Albert in the country’s northeast, as well as mining permits for three projects: Moku Gold, Iron Mountain, and Sanzetta.

In exchange, the DRC government agreed to pay Ventora €240.7 million ($251.6 million) to settle debts owed to the company, while Ventora agreed to pay €57 million ($60.05 million) in royalties owed to the DRC’s state mining company, Gecamines.

Gertler has been under fire since the United States sanctioned him and his companies in December 2017 and June 2018 on allegations that he was using his connections with former DRC President Joseph Kabila to secure lucrative mining contracts in the country.

The Israeli billionaire, who is worth $1.2 billion at the time of writing, has denied all allegations of corruption and has never been charged with a crime.

However, following discussions between a government committee and Ventora Development, a multiyear contract was formally canceled.

In response to the DRC government’s settlement agreement, Gertler, through a spokesman, stated that it is his “fervent hope that with his full withdrawal from active business in the DRC and the implementation of compliance changes, the U.S. government will view him as having responded to the U.S. sanctions in the appropriate manner.”

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