In September, Och-Ziff, the New York hedge fund, agreed to pay a $413m fine to settle claims that it paid bribes to secure lucrative natural resources deals in Africa. It was the largest fine ever levied on a US hedge fund for breaking foreign bribery laws, says The Sunday Times, and two former employees could yet face criminal charges.
But for many, the real interest of the case was the renewed light it shone on the business activities of one particular man: Dan Gertler, the Israeli mining billionaire.
Gertler, 42, has built a $1.2bn fortune “through shrewd mining ventures”, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), says Forbes. As well as the Och-Ziff partnership, his companies struck joint ventures with Glencore, the commodities giant (which has not been accused of any wrongdoing), and ENRC, the former London-listed miner under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
But Gertler’s role has been controversial: “he’s been dogged by accusations from [non-government organisations, NGOs] that he snapped up mining assets on the cheap by cozying up to politicians,” says Forbes.
The Africa Progress Panel, an NGO headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has alleged the Congolese state may have lost out on a total of $1.36bn from just five deals involving firms linked to Gertler.
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