South African newspaper Mail & Guardian did some digging and uncovered some of the dealings of Israeli businessman Dan Gertler – aka Mr. Grab – who “has become synonymous with ‘grabbing and flipping'” mining concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gertler, 38, used his relationship with DRC president Joseph Kabila and Kabila’s now late adviser Augustin Katumba Mwanke to bag mining projects “by stripping from others if necessary, only to sell them on at great profit.”
Here is what M&G says happened to Canada’s First Quantum Minerals in 2009:
Continue reading at M&A about Kolwezi and Gertler’s other deals including with Canadian firm Africo, South African presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale and New York hedge fund Och-Ziff.
The Financial Times in June also featured Gertler – grandson of Moshe Schnitzer, the founder of Israel’s diamond exchange – who “like other middlemen who have gained influence and wealth is finding it increasingly difficult to avoid the spotlight”.
According to Gertler associates he arrived in Congo in 1997 “at the suggestion of friends from the Chabad orthodox Jewish community, which has deep roots in the country”:
Shimon Cohen, Mr Gertler’s spokesman, says he has attracted $7bn of investment into the country. The problem is that the Congolese state appears to have seen very little direct gain from the deals he struck.
That’s an issue rising up the agenda for the international donors bankrolling the state, for anti-corruption organisations such as Global Witness and increasingly – for reputational and regulatory reasons – for investors.
“The pressure is getting stronger from all sides and for him to raise funding on the markets is not an easy call any more,” a leading Kinshasa businessman says, predicting that before long he may have to cash in and move elsewhere.