US Reimposes Sanctions on Billionaire Mining Tycoon
The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday announced that it has re-imposed economic sanctions on an Israeli billionaire, accused of “extensive” public corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after the Trump administration lifted them in its final days in office.
sanctioned by the U.S. in 2017 for engaging in “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in the DRC.Mining tycoon billionaire Dan Gertler was
On January 15, 2021, the same administration that sanctioned him ― former President Donald Trump’s ― granted him a special one-year license that lifted his ban on dealing with U.S. companies and allowed him access to his frozen money, which gave him more than a month to move it.
The Treasury said the now-revoked license “is inconsistent with America’s strong foreign policy interests in combating corruption around the world, specifically including U.S. efforts to counter corruption and promote stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”
Gertler has also been accused of using his close friendship with former DRC President Joseph Kabila to gain mining deals worth billions of dollars.
As a result of these deals and the underpricing of mining assets sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler, the DRC reportedly lost over US$1.3 billion in revenue between 2010 and 2012 alone.
By 2018, the U.S. had imposed sanctions on 34 entities and individuals in Gertler’s network, including the offshore companies that facilitated these corrupt deals.
“The Treasury is sanctioning companies that have enabled Dan Gertler to access the international financial system and profit from corruption and misconduct,” a statement issued at the time said. “A financial toll will be imposed on individuals and companies that exploit innocent people and vulnerable jurisdictions for their own personal gain.”
The move by the Biden administration came a month after a coalition of Congolese and international NGOs wrote a letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State, requesting the licence to be revoked.
“The scale and nature of the corruption Gertler facilitated had a significant impact on the human rights of many Congolese,” the letter said, citing that the $1.3 billion lost to Gertler could have funded almost half of the country’s health budget.