Glencore and Bribery – Gertler, and Speculation Re: an Attorney’s Activities in Ukraine

The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in Baar

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Britain’s fraud office opens investigation into Glencore

Dec 5 (Reuters) – Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched an investigation into Glencore concerning “suspicions of bribery,” the company said on Thursday.

Glencore, one of the world’s biggest commodity traders, is already subject to a U.S. Department of Justice enquiry in connection with corruption in Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria.

The SFO confirmed https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2019/12/05/sfo-confirms-investigation-into-suspected-bribery-at-glencore-group-of-companies it was investigating the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons, but said it could not comment further on a live investigation.

Glencore has said it will cooperate with the investigation.

The company’s shares dropped 6% to 223.9 pence following the announcement, pushing it to the bottom of London’s blue-chip index.

Over the course of this year, Glencore’s shares have fallen more than 20%, pressured by broader concerns about safety and sustainability in Democratic Republic of Congo.

CEO Ivan Glasenberg told investors earlier this week he expected to step down next year once a new management team is in place. (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Alistair Smout, Julia Payne and Barbara Lewis in London; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Jane Merriman)

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Glencore, Human Rights, Gertler, Sanctions, the DRC and The Global Magnitsky Act’s Non-Enforcement

Where are Africa’s billions?

Photograph Credit: Transparency International

Who Oversees Enforcement of The Magnitsky Act and Dan Gertler’s Payments from Glencore Belie Enforcement

DISCLAIMER: The below Euractiv.com piece is an Opinion Post, republished in part without the permission of the author or the Euractiv.com Ltd. company and/or their website.

We are re-posting with links to the original.

This current interest comes at the heals of recent violence in the DRC: “The Congolese army has arrived at Glencore’s largest copper and cobalt mine following the deaths of over 40 informal miners on the site.” (The Financial Times) “The latest tragedy struck at a site owned by Kamoto Copper Company, a subsidiary of FTSE 100 giant Glencore. The company has reported incursions of up to 2,000 people a day on its giant mining concession, which, at 5,200 acres, is difficult to secure.” (The Telegraph)

For the purposes of the Global Magnitsky Act in the US, it is unclear within the context of the United States enforcement mechanisms who enforces the Global Magnitsky Act within the branches of US Government. The Sanctions against Dan Gertler, a former partner of Glencore, were issued by the Department of Treasury and Foreign Assets (OFAC); but Glencore’s announcements in 2018 that it would pay Gertler in a currency other than US Dollars to avoid triggering the sanctions or asset seizures was announced with a measure of glee in 2018. It would seem, therefore that even though the US has enacted the Global Magnitsky Act it lacks teeth or in the alternative, those with teeth are easily bought.

“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”. [Reuters]

Based upon Glencore’s own comments, it would appear that they colluded with US and Swiss government agencies to avoid compliance, or rather to find loopholes in which payment would comply. Either way, this means that Gertler continues to get wealthier off the backs of the Congolese people and The Magnitsky Sanctions, intended to prevent exploitation of human rights are meaningless.

We believe that there is a connection to Gertler with high ranking officials in the United States government or with people who have the ear of US officials and with that, a means of guaranteeing that those who would be overseeing the sanctions simply look the other way.

We take the general position that the are no coincidences, everything is political and nearly everyone has a price. 

Continue reading

Gertler, Dark Payments from Mining, Glencore, the IMF and President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC

The International Monetary Fund arrived for its first talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2015 as President Felix Tshisekedi seeks to repair relations with the Washington-based institution and fulfill a pledge to fight corruption.

Tshisekedi, who replaced Joseph Kabila after elections in December, last month told delegates while on a visit to Washington that he’d come “to untangle the dictatorial system which was in place.” He told another meeting that Congo’s endemic corruption had “discouraged serious investors.”

“We urge them to do a thorough audit at every level and not to be lenient,” Gilbert Mundela, an adviser to Tshisekedi, said in interview Thursday in the capital, Kinsasha.

Non-government organizations want the IMF to undertake “an independent audit into the management of public companies,” according to a letter addressed to Managing Director Christine Lagarde. They also called for unpublished mining contracts to be made public.

The fund halted a $532 million three-year loan program for Congo seven years ago after the government failed to publish details of a 2011 mining deal. “Opacity in the management of public companies has only increased” since the program ended, according to the letter.

Dark Deals

The local organizations singled out state-owned mining company Gecamines, saying its transactions with international investors “are done in darkness.” Advocacy groups such as the Atlanta-based Carter Center and London-based Global Witness say Gecamines failed to account for hundreds of millions of dollars paid to it by partners in copper and cobalt deals. Gecamines rejects the claims.

The 32 organizations are also “worried” about royalties paid to Israeli businessman Dan Gertler from two copper-cobalt mines controlled by Glencore Plc. The contracts enabling Gertler to acquire the royalty streams are unpublished, according to the letter.

 To continue reading click here.

Dan Gertler – Glencore, Nikanor, Fleurette, Limajo – Arm’s Length, probably not, Wholesale Ownership of DRC

Glencore Gave Loans to Businesses Linked to Suspect Congo Dealings

Documents show mining giant provided nearly $1 billion in loans and advances to aid investments by accused businessman Dan Gertler

A Glencore copper operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Swiss mining giant Glencore GLNCY -0.98% PLC provided nearly $1 billion in loans and advances to companies associated with an Israeli businessman accused of having corrupt ties to government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The loans, made over a roughly 10-year period starting in 2007, were designed in part to help finance investments by the businessman, Dan Gertler, in copper-mining operations in Congo alongside Glencore, the documents show.

The amount of the loans—more than previously reported—highlights the financial ties between Glencore and Mr. Gertler during their decadelong partnership in Congo. The relationship has been a focus of U.S. and Canadian authorities, who have been investigating the company’s Congo operations and ties to Mr. Gertler.

Glencore, the globe-spanning mining behemoth and trading house run by Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg, for years has pushed back against complaints about its ties to Mr. Gertler. Mr. Gertler and his main company in Congo, Fleurette Group, have denied wrongdoing.

Analysts say mounting concerns about Glencore’s Congo operations have contributed to a decline in the Swiss company’s share price.

The details about the loans are contained in the Paradise Papers, a trove of documents from a Bermudan law firm obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with The Wall Street Journal. The papers first surfaced in late 2017.

Glencore has disclosed some of the lending to Mr. Gertler in broad strokes. A 2017 deal to buy out Mr. Gertler’s stakes in two Congo mines, for instance, folded in $556 million in debt—including $120 million in interest—that Mr. Gertler owed Glencore, the company said at the time. The cash payment in the deal was about $534 million.

The documents, though, detail a series of specific transactions in which Glencore helped to finance Mr. Gertler’s business interests in Congo. Glencore’s chief financial officer frequently signed off on documents associated with the loans.

The overall value of the loans and many of their details haven’t previously been reported.

A spokesman for Glencore declined to comment on the specifics of the loan agreements. In response to a 2014 report by London-based corruption watchdog Global Witness about Glencore’s mining deals in Congo with Mr. Gertler, Glencore said all transactions with the Israeli businessman’s companies “have been conducted on arm’s-length terms, and all public disclosure requirements applicable to us have been complied with.”

A spokesman for Fleurette Group said, “Loans made to Fleurette and its related companies were negotiated on arms-length commercial terms.” Any implication that the loans were improper is wrong, the spokesman said. “Fleurette has operated transparently and in line with all applicable laws during its interactions with Glencore,” he said, adding that all loans were used for legitimate purposes and were repaid.

Documents reviewed by the Journal show that in 2011 a company controlled by Mr. Gertler owed $300 million to a Bermuda affiliate of Glencore, Limajo International Inc., a previously undisclosed debt.

By the end of 2014, Mr. Gertler’s company owed Limajo $510 million, the documents show.

Glencore’s ties to Mr. Gertler date to the mid-2000s, when both invested in Nikanor PLC, a London-listed Congolese copper operator. In 2007, Glencore lent about $250 million to a company controlled by Mr. Gertler, and that company used the funds to purchase a stake in Nikanor, according to the documents.

Mr. Gertler later used about $61 million in Glencore funds to amass shares in another Congo mine operator, Katanga Mining Ltd. , after it merged with Nikanor, the documents show. Glencore invested in Katanga alongside Mr. Gertler and eventually came to control it.In total, Glencore provided nearly $900 million in loans and advances to Mr. Gertler’s companies, according to the documents. Some of that amount likely included accrued interest on some of the loans, the documents show.

Glencore’s Katanga Mining, in addition, made about $80 million in advances to a company controlled by Mr. Gertler from royalties he was entitled to receive, according to Katanga’s public filings. Glencore purchased Mr. Gertler’s stake in Katanga in 2017.

The U.S. Treasury Department in December 2017 sanctioned Mr. Gertler, accusing him of trading on a friendship with Congo President Joseph Kabila to amass a fortune through “opaque and corrupt” deals on behalf of multinational companies seeking to do business in Congo. Mr. Gertler has declined to comment on the specifics of the allegations.

Last month, Canada’s main stock-market regulator said Katanga Mining hid from investors the risks associated with its reliance on Mr. Gertler. The Ontario Securities Commission said Katanga, which trades in Toronto, paid associates of Mr. Gertler “to maintain relations” with the Congolese government.The

Fleurette spokesman said last month the company “has always acted appropriately and with integrity in the DRC. Nothing has ever been proven against the company or its executives in a court of law.”

To read the remainder of the article in its original format click here.