US slaps sanctions on DRC national over Gertler ties

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DRC national Alain Mukonda is accused by the US Treasury of opening bank accounts for Dan Gertler and making payments into proxy bank accounts for him and a close associate of his.

Published On 6 Dec 2021

The United States Treasury on Monday slapped sanctions on a national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 12 entities linked to him for allegedly providing support to blacklisted Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler.

DRC national Alain Mukonda is accused by the US Department of the Treasury of opening bank accounts for Gertler and making payments into proxy bank accounts for him and a close associate of his.

The Treasury claims Mukonda made 16 cash deposits totalling between $11m and $13.5m into accounts of companies he incorporated that ultimately belonged to Gertler’s family and redomiciled several of Gertler’s firms from Gibraltar and the British Virgin Islands to the DRC.

“Treasury is committed to supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s anti-corruption efforts by going after those that abuse the political system for economic gain and unfairly profit from the Congolese state,” said Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury Wally Adeyemo in a statement. “Treasury recognizes that corruption fuels instability and conflict, and undercuts efforts to achieve the economic growth and the rule of law necessary to overcome fragility.”

Monday’s sanctions build upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and corruption, and are the first in what the Treasury describes as a “Week of Actions” leading up to the Summit for Democracy hosted by US President Joe Biden.

Gertler was blacklisted by the administration of former US President Donald Trump in 2017 for allegedly fuelling corruption in the DRC, where he amassed a fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars worth of mining and oil deals. Gertler is accused of leveraging his close friendship with former DRC President Joseph Kabila to insert himself as a middleman for mining asset sales in the country. The subsequent underpricing of those assets cost the DRC more than $1.36bn in lost revenues between 2010 and 2012, said the Treasury.

Gertler denies he engaged in corrupt practices.

In March, the Biden administration revoked a sanctions waiver for Gertler that was issued in the last days of the Trump administration.

Those subject to US sanctions have their US assets frozen, and Americans are barred from doing business with them.

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