(Bloomberg) — A year ago in June, a group of bankers marched into a U.S. Treasury office in Washington on perhaps the most important mission of their careers: to save a country from financial collapse.
Among them was Willy Mulamba, Citigroup Inc.’s top executive in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a resource-rich but devastatingly poor nation in central Africa.
Mulamba, a 51-year-old Congolese banker who had returned home after years abroad, was part of a small team desperate to dissuade Treasury officials from cutting the nation off from the U.S. banking system, even though corruption scandals swirling around recently departed President Joseph Kabila had infected several local banks.
Global firms including ING Groep NV and Commerzbank AG had stopped processing most dollar transactions from Congo out of concern about violating U.S. anti-money-laundering rules or sanctions imposed on generals, government officials and, in December 2017, on one of Kabila’s most important financiers: Dan Gertler.
The Israeli billionaire, Treasury said, had amassed a fortune “through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals.”
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