US cracks down on Israeli billionaire over DRC corruption, revoking Trump-granted licence

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  • The US, in the interests of "combatting corruption around the world", tightened restrictions against Israeli mining tycoon Dan Gertler.
  • Gertler is accused of depriving the Democratic Republic of Congo of $1.4 billion in tax revenues over the past decade.
  • Five days before Donald Trump left the White House, Gertler was granted a licence that unfroze assets and allowed transactions to proceed.

Washington – The United States on Monday reimposed curbs on an Israeli billionaire accused of corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), reversing a move by Donald Trump during his last days in office.

Rights groups had urged Joe Biden's new administration to halt the recent easing of sanctions on mining tycoon Dan Gertler, whom Washington claims deprived the DRC of $1.4 billion in tax revenues over the past decade.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the licence granted to Gertler five days before Trump left the White House had been revoked, as it was "inconsistent with America's strong foreign policy interests in combatting corruption around the world".

The US hit Gertler with sanctions in December 2017, over mining deals struck with help from his friend, then-Congolese president Joseph Kabila.

John Prendergast, co-founder of The Sentry investigative non-profit group, welcomed Monday's decision to again tighten measures against Gertler.

"Gertler's corrupt partnership with former president Joseph Kabila cost the DRC dearly in terms of lost resources, lost services, and, ultimately, lost lives," Prendergast said.

"Restoring the sanctions enables Congolese and US anti-corruption efforts to get back on track."

While Gertler and his firms had remained on the sanctions list, the Trump-granted licence allowed their transactions to go ahead and unfroze some of their assets.


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