Congo Backs Billionaire Gertler After Och-Ziff Allegations – by Thomas Wilson, Franz Wild and Jesse Riseborough (Bloomberg News – October 5, 2016)

The Democratic Republic of Congo defended Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler’s business dealings in the mineral-rich country, five days after he was linked to a bribery investigation by U.S. authorities.

“For us an attack on him is an attack on the Congo,” Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, President Joseph Kabila’s chief diplomatic adviser, said in an interview Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa. “Mr. Gertler’s businesses are legitimate. He pays his taxes, making a good contribution to our government in monetary terms.”

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LP’s Africa unit last week agreed to plead guilty to a charge of conspiring to pay off officials in Congo as part of settlements with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Och-Ziff itself agreed to pay $412 million in fines and penalties to settle conspiracy allegations related to bribery by the unit in Congo and other African nations.

One of the hedge fund’s partners, referred to in the SEC order as an “infamous Israeli businessman,” was identified by a person familiar with the matter as Gertler.

Gertler, who also partners with Glencore Plc, among others, in mining ventures in Congo, has consistently denied paying bribes. He hasn’t been charged with an offense and wasn’t mentioned by name in either the settlement with the SEC or the ones with the Justice Department.

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