In an effort to clamp down on human rights abuses and corrupt action, the US has announced sanctions against 52 individuals and entities, including billionaire mining magnate Dan Gertler and 19 entities linked to him.
In response to the sanctions announced against Gertler, Nick Donovan, Global Witness Campaign Director for Conflict and Fragile States said:
“In just 6 of the secret deals we investigated involving Dan Gertler the Congolese people lost $1.5bn, equivalent to twice Congo's annual health and education spend. Congolese families desperately needed that money to pay for the healthcare and schooling of their children.
Dan Gertler is notorious as a so-called 'friend of the president'. He has acted as a gatekeeper to Congo's mineral riches, and held dubious relationships with several western mining companies, including Glencore. In US Department of Justice documents summarising evidence of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by Och Ziff, an American hedge fund, Gertler - referred to as an 'infamous Israeli businessman'- is described as paying bribes to Congolese officials, understood to include the President.
These new US sanctions on Gertler will contribute to cutting off what has been an important financial lifeline to Congo’s President Joseph Kabila, who retains an unconstitutional grip on power. The decision to sanction sends a very strong signal that the US will not tolerate corrupt behaviour of this sort.
These latest US sanctions against Gertler mean international companies with existing business relationships with him and related entities in Congo, including Randgold and Glencore, will have to re-evaluate their contracts.
The sanctions are welcome. We hope that authorities in the US, Israel, DRC, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands also consider opening criminal investigations into both Dan Gertler and Glencore. Western businessmen have been looting Congo for too long.”
Gertler has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
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