Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Washington [US], March 9 (ANI): The United States administration revoked a President Donald Trump-era license that exempted Israeli businessman Dan Gertler from sanctions over suspected corrupt deals with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), State Department spokesman Ned Price announced.

The waiver clandestinely granted to Gertler in the last days of Donald Trump's presidency essentially suspended the action under the Global Magnitsky Act through January 2022.

"Today, the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, revoked the license that was issued to Specially Designated National Dan Gertler on January 15, 2021," Price said in a statement on Monday.

"The license previously granted to Mr. Gertler is inconsistent with America's strong foreign policy interests in combatting corruption around the world, specifically including U.S. efforts to counter corruption and promote stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)," he added.

In 2017, the US sanctioned Gertler, "an international businessman and billionaire," for "opaque and corrupt" mining and oil deals stemming from his close friendship with DRC President Joseph Kabila.

According to Sputnik, the African nation lost over USD 1.36 billion in revenues from the underpricing of assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler, the notice said. The businessman also allegedly sold back to the DRC for USD 150 million the rights to an oil block that he had purchased from the country's government for just USD 500,000.

"As the original designation of Mr. Gertler under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program in 2017 and subsequent designations in 2018 made clear, Mr. Gertler engaged in extensive public corruption," Price said.

Gertler denied any wrongdoing. Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer, who represented former President Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial, lobbied the US Treasury Department for the waiver, Sputnik reported further citing media reports.

The sanctions block Gertler's assets in the United States and prohibit US persons from engaging in transactions with him and his companies. (ANI)

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