US blacklists individual allegedly providing support to Israeli investor Gertler

Gertler, originally a diamond trader, amassed his fortune mostly by buying mining assets from the DRC at greatly discounted prices, and selling them at great profit. (Image: Screenshot from Bosolo Na Politik Officielle | YouTube.)

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a Democratic Republic of Congo national it accused of providing support to Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler, part of a policy to target corruption in the central African country.

The U.S. Treasury Department accused Alain Mukonda in a statement of making payments into proxy bank accounts for Gertler following his designation in 2017. The Treasury said Mukonda made cash deposits totaling between $11 million and $13.5 million into accounts of companies he incorporated that ultimately belong to Gertler’s family.

Washington’s designation of Mukonda was the first in an expected series of sanctions announcements this week during President Joe Biden’s U.S. Summit for Democracy.

Twelve companies linked to or associated with Mukonda in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gibraltar were also added to the sanctions list.

“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,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in the statement.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Gertler and more than 30 of his businesses in December 2017 and June 2018, accusing him of leveraging his friendship with former Congo President Joseph Kabila to secure lucrative mining deals.

Gertler denies any wrongdoing.

The curbs announced on Monday brought the number of sanctioned people and entities in Gertler’s network to 46 and freezes any U.S. assets of Mukonda and bars Americans from dealing with him.

The United States for years has imposed so-called Global Magnitsky sanctions on those accused of corruption, human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions around the world. A U.S. law was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer who died in custody in 2009.

Biden’s administration in March revoked a sanctions waiver for Gertler that was issued in the last days of former President Donald Trump’s administration. Congolese and international human rights groups and several U.S. lawmakers called for the reversal.

(By Daphne Psaledakis and Susan Heavey; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Grant McCool)


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