Dan Gertler – One of the 13 Most Serious Human Rights Abusers –

Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler

Israeli Diamond Billionaire Sanctioned By U.S. Anti-Corruption Law

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Dan Gertler, an Israeli with extensive investments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is among the first people targeted for sanctions under a new U.S. anti-international corruption law.

Dan Gertler is among “13 serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors,” the Treasury Department said in a release Thursday, who would be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act passed in 2016. It is the first time the law is being applied.

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,” the release said. “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.”

As a result, mining assets are consistently underpriced upon sale to Gertler or his fronts, and then resold at real value, Treasury said, with the resultant kickbacks to Gertler and Kabila costing the Congo upward of $1 billion.

Read more: https://forward.com/fast-forward/390710/israeli-diamond-billionaire-sanctioned-by-us-anti-corruption-law/




Read more: https://forward.com/fast-forward/390710/israeli-diamond-billionaire-sanctioned-by-us-anti-corruption-law/


What’s Leviev Up To? Africa-Israel, Adding Emeralds to Portfolio

Billionaire Leviev Adds Zambia Emeralds to Diamond Portfolio

Billionaire Lev Leviev, who made his fortune undercutting De Beers’ former diamond monopoly, has bought half of one of Africa’s biggest emerald mines.

Leviev bought into the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director Leviev’s Namibian unit, said by phone. The operation has been renamed Gemcanton Investments Holdings.

A spokesperson for Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a listed company controlled in which Leviev is the biggest shareholder, didn’t return phone calls and emails seeking comment. A spokesperson at LLD Diamonds, Leviev’s jewelry business, didn’t return calls either. Leviev used his Israel-based diamond unit to purchase half of Grizzly, Kapwanga said, without providing further details.

The move into emeralds marks a change of course for Leviev. Born in Soviet Uzbekistan before fleeing to Israel in 1971, he worked as an apprentice in a diamond-polishing plant and established his own factory, striking deals with diamond-producing countries such as Russia and Angola.

He went on to own an 18 percent stake in Angola’s Catoca diamond mine, one of the world’s biggest, before selling to Chinese investors to focus on the Luminas mine in the African country. As well as his Leviev jewelry company, he controls a real estate empire from Moscow to New York through Africa-Israel Investments Ltd.

Emerald prices have soared by more than tenfold in the past eight years, as top producer Gemfields Plc sought to expand the market for the green stones and boost advertising. Emeralds were previously mainly produced by artisanal miners, meaning there wasn’t a consistent supply enough for retailers to run production lines or advertise them. The company owns the Kagem mine, Zambia’s biggest producer.

Gemfields Chief Executive Officer Ian Harebottle said the company has tried to contact Leviev.

“I’ve written to them a few times and said ‘welcome to the area, let’s talk.’ They’ve been non-responsive so far,” Harebottle said in April. “Colored stones offer a great opportunity with great growth potential. It was inevitable that someone else was going to look this way.”

Pallinghurst Resources, which has a 47 percent stake in Gemfields, made an offer in May to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in the company. An independent Gemfields committee said the offer undervalued the company.

Shares in Gemfields rose 3.7 percent by 13:11 p.m. in London to trade at 35 pence.

To read the article in Bloomberg click here.

The Death of Katumba?- a Billionaire Financier’s 29,900%, Congo, Fleurette, and a Funeral Embrace


Questions for our Readers to Ponder:

Was the death of Augustin Katumba Mwake in 2012 an accident?

Is what appears to be a very close relationship between Joseph Kabila, (who wrested control of Congo after his father was assassinated) and Dan Gertler deniable?

Had Dan Gertler as of 2014 really attracted $7 billion worth of investment in the Congo (as he claimed to critics then) or simply exploited the country for its resources, and the Congolese people for cheap labor?

How many of the events depicted in news today are attributable to the relationships that Mr. Gertler has with Kabila and the exchanges that have been made for mining rights?


DRC mining billionaire turns 29,900% profit on oil deal

Billionaire mining financier Dan Gertler has been accused by human rights group Global Witness of a strip and flip transaction in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bloomberg reports according to official records Nessergy, an oil driller owned by the Israeli businessman, paid $500,000 for 95% of Congo’s portion of the offshore block in 2006.

Congo’s government paid $150 million to buy it back last year, according to le Soft, a Kinshasa-based newspaper, but none of the details of the transaction has been made public despite DRC government regulations requiring large contracts involving the country’s natural resources be made publicly available within 60 days.

Bloomberg could not secure comments from either Nessergy nor the African nation’s Oil Minister, while Gertler’s financing firm, the Fleurette Group, said it is protected by confidentiality agreements with the DRC and Angola, which are jointly developing the field.

Reuters quotes a Fleurette spokesperson as saying the $500,000 signing bonus was “the standard amount companies paid to Congo for oil rights at the time the contract was agreed” and that the block’s value had risen sharply since discoveries in nearby Angolan fields.

It is not the first time Gertler’s name has been mentioned with regard to questionable natural resource deals in the DRC.

Gertler is the grandson of Moshe Schnitzer, Israeli diamond exchange founder, and arrived in the Congo in 1997 shortly after the military coup that put current president Joseph Kabila’s father in charge of the resource rich country which is almost the size of Western Europe.

Gertler is said to have used his relationship with the younger Kabila and his now late adviser Augustin Katumba Mwanke to bag mining projects “by stripping from others if necessary, only to sell them on at great profit.”

Now delisted Kazakh mining group ENRC, was forced to pay out $1.25 billion to Canadian mining firm First Quantum in 2012 after the DRC government expropriated First Quantum’s Kolwezi copper projects in the country only to sell them onto ENRC via Gertler.

ENRC acquired a 50.5% stake in Camrose, a company controlled by the Gertler family trust, for $550 million last year.

Camrose owns a stake in Africo Resources, listed in Toronto, which partners with DRC’s state-owned Gecamines in various copper-cobalt, gold and iron projects and dominates the DRC diamond trade.

Kabila has on occasion dispatched Gertler as special peace envoy for the DRC and Gertler answers his critics by saying he’s attracted $7 billion worth of much-needed investment to the war-torn country.


Gertler, a Wedding, Congo, Kabila and Katumba



Suspicion circles Israeli diamond maven who ‘understands negroes’

Recorded in about 2 00, the revealing slur was made during the early days of the Israeli diamond ­scion’s ambitious Democratic Republic of Congo venture.

It is a venture that gained him an unsavoury reputation after he ingratiated himself with two successive DRC presidents and a shadowy presidential adviser and kingpin while laying claim to a host of sought-after mining concessions – in often shady circumstances and on often questionable terms.

Now Gertler is dogged by investigations in Israel, where it is alleged he made large payments to companies said to have been controlled by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman while Lieberman held other public positions.

Analysis: Sexwale’s African ventures court controversy

Gertler denied the claims, whereas Lieberman declared that he had sold his shareholdings. Prosecutors and police remain suspicious.

An ultra orthodox Jew, Gertler hails from an influential line of diamond traders. His grandfather, Moshe Schnitzer, founded Israel’s Diamond Exchange and Gertler established his own firm when he was just 22. He arrived in Kinshasa soon afterwards.

Military training
This was in about 1999. The DRC was tied up in a civil war and then-president Laurent Kabila needed money. Gertler made short work of befriending the president and bagged his first big deal: exclusive rights to export the country’s artisanal diamonds. In return, Gertler was said to have promised Kabila $20million on unclear terms and it was alleged that he had promised to organise arms and military training for Kabila’s fighters.

However, the details of whatever military assistance was discussed with Kabila senior have been fiercely disputed in Israeli courts after Yossi Kamisa – a former Israeli border policeman said to have been roped in for the task – sued Gertler for breach of contract in 2004 after he was cut from the deal.

In Kamisa’s version, he was summoned to Lieberman’s Jerusalem office in July 2000 and told that he and Gertler were “partners” in  “future transactions with tremendous economic potential”. In court papers Kamisa claimed: “Gertler explained that paying bribes is very accepted in Congo and that his stay in the country, connected with making the transaction, had already cost him more than a million dollars.”

Gertler has consistently and vehemently denied Kamisa’s claims and he and Lieberman later reached a settlement with Kamisa retracting his allegations, causing the court to reject the case outright.

In his appeal against the dismissal of the case, which was also rejected, Kamisa presented a transcript of a disturbing conversation between the two. Gertler, who was removing Kamisa from the deal, offered his version of African politics, as reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “A kushi [a derogatory Hebrew term for a black person] who wants something from you ‘sits on your vein’ … A negro likes to talk and make promise after promise, blah blah blah …”

Politics of negroes
Kamisa then claimed that, if it was not for him, Gertler would not have landed the concession, to which Gertler responded: “Yossi, either you are mentally ill or I don’t know what. Are you saying that the diamond contract was signed because of you?” And then: “Yossi, you don’t get it. I understand the politics of negroes.”

Lieberman has strenuously denied his role as described by Kamisa.

After Kabila senior was assassinated in 2001 and succeeded by his son, Joseph, Gertler was able to rekindle relations with the new incumbent as well as his notorious adviser, the late Augustin Katumba Mwanke. Gertler then moved on to claim more lucrative mining concessions in the country.

More recently, Gertler has been hammered by human rights campaigners and international media for “secretly” acquiring mining assets from the DRC government using a complex web of offshore companies. Whereas Gertler’s role in these companies has either been deduced or acknowledged, the companies’ full lists of beneficiaries remain unknown.

The most infamous example was the Kolwezi copper and cobalt tailings project, “grabbed and flipped” from First Quantum through a Gertler company to Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) in 2010.

Others described by human rights campaigner Global Witness include:

  • SMKK copper and cobalt mine: A Gertler-linked company acquired a stake in this mine from the DRC for $10million in February 2010 and sold it to ENRC for $75million that June.
  • Kansuki copper and cobalt mine: The DRC transferred a stake to a Gertler company in July 2010. A month later, Glencore took control of half the stake but is financing the entire mine development.
  • In May 2011 the DRC government transferred the remaining 25% stake in Kansuki to another Gertler “associated” company for $17million. Global Witness cited valuations suggesting the stake was worth between $86million and $209million.
  • Mutanda copper and cobalt mine: The DRC sold an allegedly undervalued 20% stake to another offshore Gertler company in March 2011.

Gertler does not deny that he “enjoys a close friendship” with Joseph Kabila and he openly attended Katumba’s funeral early this year. He also claimed to have served in the mysterious role of the Congo’s “honorary consul” in Tel Aviv.

But through a spokesperson he ­stridently rejected all claims of impropriety.

According to him, his proximity to the Kabilas and Katumba had no bearing on his business deals. And, he said, the mining assets were purchased, not “grabbed”, at a fair price and sold – “not flipped” – thus bringing significant investment into the DRC.

Gertler prefers to draw attention to such investment, claiming to have spent millions on “community support and environmental programmes” in the DRC, as well as the Chabad House he finances in Kinshasa, advancing his orthodox views.

Please see the original article: https://mg.co.za/article/2012-08-23-suspicion-circles-israeli-diamond-maven-who-understands-negroes


Congo: Denied Allegations that Kabila’s Government has Slaughtered Villagers, Armed Against the Congolese

Note to Our Readers:

The small portion of the article below is from the Wall Street Journal and was published today. It has been picked up by dozens of news sources worldwide throughout the day. However, to read the entire article requires a subscription to WSJ and on the side of caution, we are not posting the article beyond what is being circulated by other news agencies.

Our interest in this issue beyond the obvious horrors occurring in Congo whether at the hands of Kabila or otherwise, relates back to our stories of the last few days. Kabila apparently has or had close relationships with a number of our mining moguls of recent interest. It is our belief that Kabila’s weapons cache and the strength he amassed to use against his own people was provided by the same mining moguls who have exploited the Congolese people for the diamonds they could mine.

We will continue to cover our recent subjects and the mining of Congo, the potential relationship between Kabila and the subject of our recent posts, and the alleged exchanges of arms for mining contracts and the relationships these different forces have. While we most certainly would not at this juncture conclusive place the mining moguls front and center of Kabila’s alleged atrocities, the providence of any weapons exchanged for mining contracts would certainly raise questions. In our minds, the questions are already there.

To read the article in its entirety click here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/congos-escalating-political-crisis-sends-millions-into-exile-1498037400


Thousands die in conflict between government forces and militias loyal to tribal leaders as President Joseph Kabila clings to power

KYANGWALI, Uganda—The day Bungwile Mabuya discovered her husband’s mangled body near her house in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region, she grabbed her children and ran.
The mother of five, who found refuge in a sprawling lakeside refugee camp here, is one of roughly 1.5 million Congolese fleeing a brutal power struggle pitting President Joseph Kabila against traditional chiefs, who still administer large swaths of the vast central African nation.
Government forces and local militias have killed more than 3,300 people in Ms. Mabuya’s home region since October, according to the Catholic Church, which has had its priests count the bodies since then. On Tuesday, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, accused Mr. Kabila’s government of arming a new militia he said has slaughtered hundreds of villagers—including pregnant women and toddlers—in Kasai. A government spokesman has denied the allegations.

Congo, the Escalating War, Kabila and Refugees – Where are the Billionaire Diamond Merchants Who Exploited the Citizens


Michael Sharp, an American investigator for the United Nations who was found murdered in Congo, is shown in this photo taken in Goma, Congo, February 7. Sharp was one of two foreign U.N. investigators killed while investigating the conflict between the government and Kamwina Nsapu rebels. Courtesy of John E. Sharp/Handout via Reuters

Refugees in Africa: The Congo Crisis Neglected by the World


More than a million people displaced in less than a year, thousands killed and dumped in mass graves. But no one seems to care about the displacement crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“A woefully inadequate number of aid agencies” are on the ground and a “pitiful amount of money” has been pledged to deal with the humanitarian impact of a deadly conflict in Congo’s Kasai region, according to Ulrika Blom, the Congo country director at the Norwegian Refugee Council. Of an emergency $65 million appeal announced by the U.N.’s humanitarian office in April, only 8 percent of funds—$5.2 million—have been provided, though a total of 53 percent has been pledged.

In March, two U.N. experts, one American and one Swedish, were abducted and killed in Congo. The incident, which was perhaps the only reason the crisis received international attention, led Washington’s U.N. envoy Nikki Haley to call for an independent inquiry and greater scrutiny of the situation in one of central Africa’s most unstable regions.



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Dan Gertler and T.O.T Investigative Stories Hidden on Google, Whatever Happens in Congo? Dan does not want us to know…

Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler


Dan Gertler Is There A Future In Congo?


“Nothing happens in Congo without Dan Gertler and Gertler can do nothing without playing the Israeli card,” said an advisor to an international mining conglomerate.

But the net is tightening around the Israeli billionaire mining magnate who dominates the economic life of the resource rich but economically impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Building an empire in Congo

The Israeli mining magnate has been fundamental in the Kabila family’s control of the DRC over the past two decades. But the 42-year-old billionaire, who was the inspiration of for the movie Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is now under international scrutiny over corruption.

Meanwhile, his main Congolese ally, President Joseph Kabila, is clinging on by his fingertips to power. The fragile situation in the Central African rentier state threatens to drag the Israeli security establishment into a renewed conflict to defend the billionaire’s interests.

There has always been a quid pro quo relationship between Gertler and Kinshasa that is heavily weighted to his corporate interests. His political influence in DRC is said to have begun shortly after his entry in 1997, when he shored up the government of Laurent Kabila by offering the late president $20 million to head off a rebellion in the east.

The rebels posed a major risk to the regime as it was attempting to establish itself. In exchange for this help, his IDI Diamonds firm was given exclusive rights on the purchase of artisanal diamonds.

The monopoly was ended by Joseph Kabila following his father’s assassination in 2001. But a deal was struck in which Gertler paid $15 million for the rights to 88 percent of the output of national diamond producer La Société Minière de Bakwanga (MIBA). Gertler’s uncle, Shmuel Schnitzer, is honorary president of the Israel Diamond Exchange.

One Israeli Defense source has also claimed that Gertler paid the Kabila government $40 million for a former Mossad chief and ex-soldiers to arm, train and direct Congolese special forces to put down the brutal Rwandan-backed M23 rebel group in an operation with the United Nations in 2013.

According to this source, the materiel was sourced from Israel and Russia.

It is claimed the operation was not officially backed by the Israeli government, but given the scale of Israeli security involvement would have probably given an informal nod of approval.

With a reputation for mass rape and slaughter, M23 had been operating out of the Virunga National Park in the unstable North Kivu province. The group’s violent operations were hindering efforts to develop the region’s potentially massive oil reserves. Ending the rebellion helped remove a problem for Kabila.

Following in Leopold’s footsteps

The sums Gertler has spent on consolidating the Kabila regime’s control over a vast territory are a fraction of the wealth he seems to have accrued allegedly as a fixer between international capital and Kinshasa. Not since Belgium’s notorious King Leopold II plundered Congo for ivory and rubber has a foreigner acquired such control and influence over the country.

Gertler has secured a reputation for buying up mining and oil prospecting rights from the government, via his high level political connections, and selling them at huge mark-ups. Over two decades, his position as gatekeeper has enabled him to dominate the copper and cobalt mining sectors in the resource-rich Katanga province, giving him personal control over nearly 10 percent of world cobalt production.

In recent years, he has turned his attention to oil exploration in the country’s potentially highly lucrative yet risky frontier prospects.

Gertler’s Oil of DRC start-up has found reserves estimated at 3 billion barrels of oil in Lake Albert. Put into context, his concessions potentially contain more oil than Syria or the UK. Oil production from the reserves would boost DRC’s economy by 25 percent, thereby consolidating Gertler’s power base in the country.

To get these commodities out of the country, Gertler has also secured an interest in infrastructural development, giving him control over the economy’s most strategically important sectors and amassing himself a huge net worth worthy of an entry into the Forbes Billionaires list.

Many of these assets are owned by the Gertler Family Trust or grouped under the Fleurette Group, which owns stakes in various Congolese mines through at least 60 holding companies in offshore tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands. Placed beyond public scrutiny, Fleurette’s investments are regarded by critics as asset stripping with his acquisitions made at a fraction of their true value.

Gertler and Congo’s web of corruption

Gertler believes the criticism of his political role in DRC is unjust. Instead, he told Bloomberg that he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role.

However, the symbiotic relationship between Gertler and President Kabila is looking into the abyss as Congolese society becomes increasingly angry at his attempts to bend the constitution to lengthen his tenure.

At the same time, global corruption investigations are closing the net on the billionaire, leaving him vulnerable to prosecution and a post-Kabila political backlash in DRC.

The DRC is said to have suffered huge losses in revenue due to the alleged undervaluation of state assets in various privatisations, many involving Gertler.

In September, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group agreed the pay over $400 million in a settlement with US authorities over its alleged payment of Gertler to allegedly bribe Congolese officials to the tune of $100 million for mining rights. No charges were brought against Gertler by the Justice Department or the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Two months later, Gertler’s nemesis Global Witness, an NGO that fights corruption in the global natural resources industry, reported that the state mining company Gecamines signed over royalty rights to the Israeli plutocrat.

Royalties amounting to up to $880 million that were due to Gecamines from Glencore’s KCC copper project in southeast Congo were assigned to an anonymous Cayman Islands company called Africa Horizons, which is part of Fleurette Group.

It is unclear what, if anything, was paid to Gecamines, whose earnings could make a significant fiscal contribution to alleviating poverty in one of the world’s poorest countries. The NGO has accused Glencore of knowingly entering loss-making deals to appease the billionaire as the DRC’s central power broker.

According to Bloomberg, in December the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) began investigating Gertler and four former Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) executives as part of a three-year probe into the Kazakh company’s acquisition of DRC copper and cobalt mining projects.

The deals may have violated UK fraud and bribery laws, for which individual offenses carry penalties of as long as 10 years in prison or an unlimited fine. The IMF had, in 2012, cancelled a $532 million loan to DRC for Gecamines’ failure to disclose the transfer of its stake in another ENRC project to a BVI-registered company controlled by Gertler.

While Gertler’s business empire sinks into international controversy, DRC has been teetering on the brink of a third civil war after Kabila failed to step down at the end of his two-term limit in December. Protests erupted across the country, prompting the Catholic Church to step in to broker an agreement between the government and the opposition.

This would see the president standing down at the end of 2017 after presidential elections, a scenario that most Congolese do not think he will do voluntarily. Besides, Kabila’s hugely popular challenger the wealthy businessman and former Katanga governor Moïse Katumbi – is in exile in Belgium, having been convicted in absentia for corruption and sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment.

If Kabila, his family and allies leave power, any successor is likely to confront endemic corruption to diminish his influence.

Documents from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting suggest that Kabila and his family control 120 mining permits and have direct and indirect links to a wide variety of businesses including banks, farms, fuel distributors, pharmaceutical suppliers and airlines.

Stripping away Kabila’s business empire could involve an anti-corruption drive that could sweep up Gertler and other friends of the President.

Israel’s response to Kabila’s fall

The mining baron may be tempted to secure backing from his Israeli connections to shore up the Kabila regime in one form or another, including the possibility that he could rule through his twin sister Jaynet Kabila or another puppet.

A step towards a Mobutu-style tyranny would precipitate another deadly conflict in a country that has lost a million lives due to past civil wars and foreign interventions.

The forces that were deployed to put down foreign-inspired rebellions in eastern DRC could be deployed against the Congolese opposition, bankrolled by Gertler and allegedly with the tacit approval of the Israeli security establishment. Such a scenario would drag Israel into a renewed conflict in the Great Lakes region.

Why would Israel get involved in Congo with such high stakes? In an article for the Jerusalem Post last April, Yossi Melman stated that a pro-Africa parliamentary lobby had been established in the Knesset to promote Israeli interests in the continent.

Interests fall into three main areas: the political-diplomatic interest in preventing anti-Israel UN resolutions, the promotion of economic ties and the strategic and military interest in advancing arms sales and combating terrorism.

Israel has traditionally trained and equipped the military guards around African dictators in the pursuit of these objectives.

Since the early 1970s, Israeli military industries and former military and intelligence officials have, with the backing of the Israeli security establishment, provided security assistance and arms to African dictators, including DRC’s former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Dan Gertler is intimately associated with Israel’s military, economic and political elite. He is close to several Israeli politicians, especially Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, founding leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party. He could seek to utilise these links to maintain DRC’s status quo.

However, there are signs that Israel is losing patience with its roving billionaires. In December, Gertler associate Benny Steinmetz who also earned his billions from diamond mining in Africa was put under house arrest under suspicion of bribery and money laundering in a long-running dispute over the $20 billion Simandou project in Guinea. He has yet to face charges and denies wrongdoing. Gertler may face a similar fate if his corporate activities come under the spotlight of investigation.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has taken a greater role in international relations, eating into the power of the Defense Ministry, which has operated as a state-within-a-state. The involvement of diplomats in relations with Africa has moderated the more militaristic inclinations of the past.

In this context, diplomats will be cautioning the Israel not to involve themselves in the quagmire of Central African politics on Gertler’s behalf, mindful of the long-term damage this could do to its diplomatic leverage in Africa. In this case, Israel may warn the security establishment and associated freelancing mercenaries to abandon Gertler to secure influence in a post-Kabila scenario.