Congo seals deal with Israeli billionaire to recover assets

Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, pictured here. (Image: Bloomberg Markets via YouTube.)

A company controlled by sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler will return mining and oil assets to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said.

The deal “puts an end to the legal disputes” between Congo’s government and Gertler’s Ventora Group, the presidency said on its Twitter page Friday after Justice Minister Rose Mutombo and the businessman signed an agreement in the capital, Kinshasa. It didn’t specify which mining and oil permits will be restored to the state.

A spokesman for Gertler declined to comment.

Companies owned by Gertler, who has been under US sanctions since 2017 for alleged corruption in Congo, control mining and oil licenses throughout the central African nation as well as lucrative royalty streams from some of the world’s biggest copper and cobalt projects run by Glencore and Eurasian Resources Group. Gertler has denied all corruption allegations and has never been charged with any wrongdoing.

Congo’s government announced on Feb. 19 that it was nearing a memorandum of understanding with Gertler’s holding company to take back oil and mining assets valued at more than $2 billion, as well as a “substantial part” of the royalties generated by Glencore’s Kamoto copper and cobalt mine.

A spokesman for Glencore declined to comment on Saturday.

The agreement should be made public, a consortium of Congolese and international non-governmental organizations known as Congo is Not for Sale said on its Twitter page.

“This accord can in no way be an umbrella that protects Dan Gertler against the accusations that weigh over him,” it said.

(By William Clowes and Michael J. Kavanagh)


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