Is Dershowitz, Freeh and Apfel’s Representation of Gertler Really Such Big News? [AN OPINION]

Dan Gertler and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, April 28, 2005
 

Tomer Appelbaum

 

DAN GERTLER, HIS MONEY, THE PEOPLE WITHIN HIS VORTEX, THE DRC, GLENCORE, MAGNITSKY AND BOMBARDIER – PART I

Dear Reader:

This is unequivocally our Opinion. It is based upon an analysis of current events and relevant FARA filings. We have posted some of the filings as images on the bottom of this page.

We believe that recent news about Dan Gertler and those lobbying on his behalf are a red herring, a distraction. They are really old news. We believe that the importance in creating smoke and mirrors is to provide a different narrative to Giuliani’s involvement in the Ukraine and his potential connection with Dan Gertler, whether directly or through intermediaries. We are working on that connection.

This is an opinion and should not be taken as anything more. 

In 2017, a number of registrations were made which disclosed to the government that several companies were representing lobbying efforts for both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dan Gertler. We feel that the DRC and Gertler are inextricably intertwined. He has a long and storied history with Kabila which in 2017 we wrote about extensively. 

The Panama Papers contain more elicit information about Gertler than about almost any other single subject; and his business dealings are creative, if nothing else. Again, this is an opinion.

We are not particularly fond of an industry which underpays citizens to dig for diamonds, cobalt, copper, emeralds and other riches and then makes zillions of dollars on the labor of those citizens who work to barely survive. Meanwhile their employers (using that term loosely) travel on a fleet of Bombardier Planes, have lavish meals delivered to Kinshasa, consistent with the laws of Kashrut of course, the cost of which is more than many of the citizens of the DRC will see in two generations of lifetimes.

We firmly believe that a mineral wealthy country should have citizens who share in that wealth and are not enslaved by it. It is our opinion that the DRC’s citizens are the victims of the vast amounts of wealth of Gertler, Kabila and their networks of associates. We believe it can only be viewed as a Shanda. There but for the Grace of G-d go I…  

In 2018 Alan Dershowitz, Gertler’s attorney (and therefore privileged confidant), Louis Freeh, also an attorney and a former FBI director between 1993 and 2001, and Gary Apfel, also an attorney, (the same brilliant attorney who notably assisted in the defense of Shalom Rubashkin and took on the issues of Criminal Justice Reform) were being paid to lobby on behalf of Dan Gertler. This is not new news. This is also not meant to create the illusion that somehow they are responsible for what is happening in the DRC. We voice no such opinion. They are lobbyists and attorneys and are getting paid to do a job.

The relevant filings were made under FARA in 2018.

What is notable is that at least one document was signed in 2019 and was only  now reported on at any great lengths in the CNBC News report (posted below). It is our position, an opinion, that this is all a great distraction. It is nothing new and should not be viewed as such.

It should be clearly understood that Dan Gertler was sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act.  This was reported by the US Department of the Treasury in a Press Release on June 15, 2018. The full text of that press release, which we are accepting as true and genuine by virtue of its source, is listed on the next page of this report. 

Through crafty maneuvering, and we believe with the help of a current confidant of President Trump, on the same day he was sanctioned, Glncore which allegedly owed Gertler millions, found a workaround to be able to pay Gertler his money. That workaround was to pay him in Euros through overseas bank accounts and companies.

It is our opinion, that the Magnitsky Act sanctions are worthless if a company can “workaround” them by utilizing foreign currency and sources of currency exchanges. Ultimately he is getting paid hundreds of millions of dollars whether he accepts them in “Greenbacks” or in some other currency. The Sanctions should apply to any currency, not just US Dollars, or there really is little point to them at all.

We also find the timing of the announcement of the sanctions and the settlement with Glencore (the company liable to him for back pay) to be somewhat questionable, if not outright insulting to anyone who believes that this is actually a sanction.

We believe that the arrangement with Glencore was back-channeled by another paid consultant with either direct or indirect connections to Gertler. It is that last piece of this opinion that we are working on.

Alan Dershowitz, Former FBI Director Lobbying for Sanctioned Israeli Billionaire

Diamond and mining tycoon Dan Gertler has been under U.S. sanctions since 2017 for corruption, human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Alan Dershowitz, an ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, and former FBI director Louis Freeh have officially registered with the U.S. government as lobbyists for Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire known for shady deals and corruption accusations.

The filing, which was first reported by U.S. network CNBC, will allow the two major Washington figures to advocate on behalf of Gertler, who has been under sanctions from the U.S. treasury since 2017.

According to CNBC, Dershowitz, who has never been registered as a lobbyist before, said he was only acting as Gertler’s lawyer.

The lobbying registration, despite only being released now, records the effective start date as October 17, 2018. Dershowitz was advising Gertler as early as last year, according to a New York Times report.

The decision to hire lobbyists is not surprising in itself. “He’s an international businessman and it’s very difficult to do business internationally” when under sanctions, Peter Jones, a campaign leader at international NGO Global Witness, told Al-Monitor.

The place of both Dershowitz and Freeh in Washington and their relationship to the current administration are significant, however.

Louis Freeh, who is also an attorney, was FBI director between 1993 and 2001. He registered to act as a lobbyist for the first time in March this year, but is known to have ties with other controversial figures. This includes former New York mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, whom Freeh hired to pressure the Romanian president, according to a report in The Independent, in connection with Hunter Biden.

Dershowitz has been an ally of both Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, coming out publicly, including in Haaretz, to dispute the accusations of corruption against Israel’s embattled premier. He has come under scrutiny for his links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The original sanctions against Gertler said he “amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” mainly through his personal relationship with former President Joseph Kabila.

To continue reading click here.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

Dershowitz, Freeh Register to Lobby for Sanctioned Billionaire

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-05/dershowitz-freeh-register-to-lobby-for-sanctioned-billionaire

High-profile defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and Louis Freeh, a former FBI director, have registered to lobby for an Israeli billionaire investor who’s been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Dan Gertler, who the Treasury Department said amassed his fortune through “corrupt deals” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hired Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP to lobby Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, according to a registration statement it filed with Congress today. The filing was first reported by CNBC.

The Trump administration included Gertler in a crackdown it announced in December 2017 on human rights abusers and corrupt actors around the world. OFAC has also sanctioned 34 individuals and entities it says are tied to him, freezing their assets and shutting them out of the U.S. financial system.

Dershowitz lobbies for the criminal Israeli looter, Dan Gertler

Trump ally Alan Dershowitz and ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh are lobbying for an Israeli billionaire the US has accused of corruption

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/05/alan-dershowitz-ex-fbi-director-louis-freeh-lobbying-for-israeli-billionaire-dan-gertler.html

PRESS RELEASES

 

150174

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 14 entities pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which targets serious human rights abuse and corruption, for being affiliated with designated Israeli businessman and billionaire Dan Gertler.  As previously noted in the December 2017 action, Gertler is an international businessman and billionaire who has amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Gertler has used his close friendship with DRC President Joseph Kabila to act as a middleman for mining asset sales in the DRC, requiring some multinational companies to go through Gertler to do business with the Congolese state.  Gertler and his company Fleurette Properties have used offshore companies to facilitate such deals.  As a result, between 2010 and 2012 alone, the DRC reportedly lost over $1.36 billion in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler.  In late December, the President included Gertler in the Annex to E.O. 13818, while OFAC simultaneously designated 19 companies and one associate for their ties to him.  With today’s action, the number of sanctioned entities and individuals in Gertler’s network now totals 34.

“Treasury is sanctioning companies that have enabled Dan Gertler to access the international financial system and profit from corruption and misconduct. We are using our tools to change the behavior of those engaged in the looting of natural resources and the humanitarian consequences that follow,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “A financial toll will be imposed on individuals and companies that exploit innocent people and vulnerable jurisdictions for their own personal gain.”

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY

Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, in E.O. 13818 the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption had reached such scope and gravity to threaten the stability of international political and economic systems.  The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse and corruption, which undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets.  To that end, as of today, 73 individuals and entities have had their assets blocked under E.O. 13818.  The United States will continue to take appropriate actions, including designating persons for sanctions, to respond to serious human rights abuse and corruption around the globe.

GERTLER AFFILIATED ENTITIES

The 14 Gertler-affiliated entities OFAC designated today are: Moku Mines D’or SA, Moku Goldmines AG, Fleurette Energy I B.V., Fleurette Africa Resources I B.V., African Trans International Holdings B.V., Fleurette African Transport B.V., Oriental Iron Company SPRL, Iron Mountain Enterprises Limited, Sanzetta Investments Limited, Almerina Properties Limited, Interlog DRC, Kitoko Food Farm, Karibu Africa Services SA, and Ventora Development Sasu.

This list of 14 companies owned or controlled by Gertler or his companies, and those previously designated, should not be viewed as exhaustive.  The regulated community remains responsible for compliance with OFAC’s 50 percent rule.

For more information on the connection between corrupt senior foreign political figures and their enabling of human rights abuses, descriptions of a number of typologies used by them to access the U.S. financial system and obscure and further their illicit activity, and red flags that may assist financial institutions in identifying the methods used by corrupt senior foreign political figures, see FinCEN Advisory FIN-2018-A003, Advisory on Human Rights Abuses Enabled by Corrupt Senior Foreign Political Figures and their Financial Facilitators.

As a result of today’s action, any property, or interest in property, of those designated by OFAC within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked.  Additionally, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.

Identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.

Glencore settles with Gertler over Congo royalties

LONDON (Reuters) – Glencore has settled a mining row in Democratic Republic of Congo with Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler by agreeing to pay royalties in a currency other than U.S. dollars, lowering the risk of disruption to copper and cobalt supplies.

U.S. sanctions on Gertler, Glencore’s former Israeli partner in Congo, had triggered litigation and a legal tangle that investors said might affect supplies of cobalt, needed for electric vehicle batteries, from the world’s biggest producer of the metal.

Glencore earlier this week reached a settlement in another dispute involving its Kamoto copper and cobalt mine in Congo, although it remains at odds with the Congolese government over a mining code that increases taxes and royalties on minerals.

Gertler’s Ventora Development Sasu had been seeking $695 million in unpaid and future royalties from Glencore’s subsidiary Mutanda Mining and $2.28 billion from Glencore subsidiary Kamoto Copper Co (KCC).

Ventora accused KCC of breaching an agreement by declining to make royalty payments because Gertler was under U.S. sanctions, Glencore said in April.

The U.S. government added Gertler and affiliated companies to its sanctions list in December last year, accusing him of using his friendship with Congo President Joseph Kabila to secure sweetheart mining deals. Gertler has denied all allegations of impropriety.

Glencore said it believed payment of the royalties in a currency other than U.S. dollars to Africa Horizons Investments Limited and Ventora without the involvement of U.S. entities would address applicable sanctions obligations. It added it had discussed the matter “with the appropriate U.S. and Swiss government agencies”.

The two companies have on this basis withdrawn all pending and threatened litigation, it said.

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