Statement | Jan. 26, 2021

Global Witness stands with Congolese and international civil society partners in denouncing easing of US sanctions against Dan Gertler

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"Congo is not for sale" (CNPAV), a consortium of Congolese and international organisations fighting corruption in DRC, denounces the licence granted by the Trump administration to Dan Gertler, allowing him to conduct transactions with American entities for one year. We call on the new U.S. President Joe Biden to take a firm stance against corruption by re-evaluating this licence and revoking it, as it is in his government's power to do.

During its last days in office, the Trump administration quietly awarded a license to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who has been under US sanctions since December 2017 due to “opaque and corrupt mining deals” in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although Dan Gertler remains under US sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, the license from the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) allows him, for one year, to conduct transactions in US dollars with US companies, banks and citizens.

The CNPAV condemns the granting of this license, which runs counter to the fight against corruption, which is regularly mentioned as part of the American Embassy’s priorities in DRC. In his most recent video following Biden’s inauguration, Ambassador Michael Hammer said, “It is in the interest of the American and the Congolese people to reinforce democracy, to fight corruption and to put an end to impunity”.

"We deplore the fact that such an important decision, with critical implications for the Democratic Republic of Congo, was taken by Donald Trump's administration just five days before he left the White House," said Jean Claude Mputu, spokesperson for the consortium Le Congo N'est pas A Vendre. "This decision is all the more worrying because it is the result of more than 15 months of lobbying by his legal team, including Alan Dershowitz, Mr. Trump's lawyer in the impeachment proceedings against him," Mputu continued. 

The granting of such a licence follows an administrative procedure and can therefore be revoked or modified at any time. In order to maintain the credibility of the U.S. sanctions, and also the overall U.S. anti-corruption agenda, the CNPAV urges President Biden's new administration to review the circumstances that led to the granting of this licence, including its unusually broad nature, and to revoke it, as is within its power to do so. 

The CNPAV also notes that Dan Gertler's former business partners, including trading giant Glencore, and Kazak mining company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) remain under investigation in the United States, Switzerland or the United Kingdom on suspicion of corruption in connection with their activities in the DRC. 

Thus, we reiterate our call to both the Congolese and international judiciary to investigate Dan Gertler's activities in the DRC. The fight against corruption will only be effective if it goes hand in hand with the ongoing struggle against impunity.  

Signatories:

  • Global Witness
  • Resource Matters
  • Pplaaf
  • Oearse
  • Unis
  • Afrewatch
  • Odep
  • Cdc/Rn
  • RAID 
  • Congo Nouveau
  • Ocidc
  • Justice Pour Tous
  • Cogep
  • Recic
  • Lucha
  • Aeta
  • Filimbi

/ ENDS

Contacts