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US Treasury partner in sanctions for Israeli billionaire Gertler

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(Bloomberg) – The US Treasury has sanctioned Congolese businessman Alain Mukonda for supporting sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler.

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The Treasury also blacklisted 12 entities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gibraltar linked to Mukonda, he said in a statement on Monday’s website.

“The Treasury is committed to supporting the anti-corruption efforts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by prosecuting those who abuse the political system for economic gain and unfairly take advantage of the Congolese state,” said the deputy secretary of the Congo. Trésor Wally Adeyemo in the press release. “We stand in solidarity with the Congolese people in their efforts to fight this scourge. “

Gertler was sanctioned in December 2017 by the US government, which said he used his close ties to former Congolese President Joseph Kabila to amass a fortune “through hundreds of millions of dollars in opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals. “.

Gertler declined to comment on Monday through a spokesperson. He has previously denied any wrongdoing and has never been charged with a felony.

The billionaire still owns a number of assets in Congo, including royalty streams from copper and cobalt projects owned by Glencore Plc and Eurasian Resources Group. Congo is currently suing Gertler to recover the rights to two undeveloped oil blocks along its border with Uganda.

In the months leading up to his sanction, Gertler reincorporated and transferred several of his companies in Congo from offshore jurisdictions, including a holding company called Gerco SAS, owned by his wife and nine family members, Bloomberg reported. News last year with the fight against corruption. brings together Global Witness and the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa, or Pplaaf. The company, now known as Ashdale Settlement Gerco SAS and represented by Mukonda, according to the Treasury, was sanctioned by the United States on Monday.

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After the 2017 sanctions, Gertler appeared to create a complex structure to move money out of Congo, with more than a dozen foreign and local front companies, subsidiaries and intermediaries, Global Witness and Pplaaf detailed in a report from last year. Their work was based in part on leaked bank documents that Pplaaf shared with three media outlets, including Bloomberg.

“Extremely courageous Congolese whistleblowers have revealed to civil society organizations and the media the active role played by Mr. Mukonda and his companies in helping Mr. Gertler bypass US sanctions,” said Henri Thulliez, director on Monday. from Pplaaf, in an email. The two whistleblowers, Gradi Koko Lobanga and Navy Malela Mawani, were sentenced to death in Congo and are living in exile.

Gertler continues to deny the findings of the Pplaaf and Global Witness report, his spokesperson said.

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The new sanctions demonstrated an “effort to coordinate with civil society partners to impose significant consequences on those who engage in corruption in the DRC and around the world,” the US Treasury said in its statement.

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