In December 2020, during the final days of the Trump presidency, the US Treasury substantially eased sanctions on controversial mining billionaire Dan Gertler.

Gertler was placed under Global Magnistsky sanctions in 2017 for amassing a fortune through “opaque and corrupt mining deals”, using his close friendship with then Congolese President Kabila to act as a middleman in the Congolese extractive sector.

In response to this news, Margot Mollat du Jourdin, Campaigner at Global Witness said:

“It is an outrage to see Global Magnitsky sanctions against Dan Gertler eased in Trump’s last days in office. The sanctions against Gertler were a significant win for mining transparency and global anti-corruption efforts - their suspension therefore comes as a major blow to the integrity of the US’s sanctions regime.

The licence may be revoked or modified at any time and we call on the new Biden administration to take a strong stance against corruption by reapplying the sanctions in full without delay.

“The easing of these sanctions was the result of a two-year long lobbying effort by politically connected allies of Gertler, including the lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who was part of former president Trump’s legal team during his first impeachment trial. 

“Gertler cannot be allowed to carry on doing business with US companies and accessing funds held in the US while huge question marks hang over his business practices and while his former business partners are still under investigation in the US and the UK for corrupt mining deals in DRC.

“As almost a decade of Global Witness investigations have shown, the Congolese state has lost around $1.4 billion through Dan Gertler’s suspect deals and outsized influence in the country’s mining sector, while over 73% of the country’s population live on less than $2 a day. It is crucial both for the credibility of the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime and for the benefit of Congolese people that Gertler is held to account and does not profit from alleged corruption until these matters are fully resolved by relevant authorities.”

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