Sanctioned Israeli Billionaire Cost Congo $2 Billion, Group Says – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – May 12, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The Democratic Republic of Congo lost out on nearly $2 billion in revenue by selling mining and oil assets to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, according to a coalition of Congolese and international organizations that urged the government to review the deals.

Companies owned by Gertler, who is under U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption in Congo, stand to gain a further $1.76 billion in the next 20 years from copper and cobalt projects in the country, said the coalition known as Congo Is Not For Sale. Gertler, who is close friends with former Congolese President Joseph Kabila, denies all wrongdoing and has never been charged with a crime.

“The coalition calls on Congolese authorities to end their silence on this matter and take urgent measures to ensure that Congo’s mineral wealth benefits the DRC Treasury and its people,” the group said in a report Wednesday.

A spokesman for Gertler accused the coalition of “simply making up numbers in an effort to generate the media interest on which their funding relies.”

Congo is the world’s largest source of cobalt and Africa’s biggest copper producer, but remains one of the poorest countries on Earth.

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