During his last week in office, the Trump administration issued Dan Gertler, accused of corruption in the DRC, with a license to resume all transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by sanctions against him.
In his last week in office, the administration of former US President Donald Trump relaxed sanctions against Israeli mine tycoon Dan Gertler that had been imposed for alleged corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a report. license issued by the US Department of Treasury.
The license, which has not been publicly announced, was issued by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), according to a January 15 letter to Gertler’s attorneys obtained by The Sentry, an anti-corruption group based in Washington DC, and seen by the Reuters news agency.
It was not known why the license was issued. A spokesperson for Gertler praised the move, but anti-corruption activists have urged President Joe Biden’s Treasury to revoke the license.
A Treasury spokesperson said the Biden administration was aware of the action, but declined to say whether they would proceed to cancel it.
The Treasury imposed the sanctions in December 2017 and June 2018, accusing Gertler of using his friendship with former DRC President Joseph Kabila to secure mining deals worth more than $ 1 billion. .
Sanctions prohibited Gertler from doing business with U.S. citizens, corporations, or banks, preventing him from doing dollar transactions.
Gertler has always denied any wrongdoing and maintained that his investments in the DRC have contributed significantly to the development of the country.
While the license does not remove Gertler, a partner, and more than 30 of its companies from the sanctions list, it allows, until January 31, 2022, “all transactions and activities” otherwise prohibited by sanctions against them.
It also requires them to submit detailed reports on their financial activities to OFAC every 90 days.
“Mr. Gertler is grateful to OFAC for issuing a license that will allow it to operate its businesses and philanthropic activities,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“It welcomes the reporting requirements and, under the oversight of a distinguished compliance team, looks forward to demonstrating that all of its activities are in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the OFAC license and the law. .
Brad Brooks-Rubin, managing director of The Sentry and a former treasury official, said in a statement that the license served “no discernible geostrategic or national security purpose.”
“Unlike pardons and regulatory changes made openly, or one of the Treasury’s normal methods of canceling sanctions, this was done behind closed doors not only for the public but for many government professionals as well,” a- he declared.
The Sentry called on Biden’s Treasury Department to revoke the license.
One of the attorneys who lobbied OFAC on Gertler’s behalf was Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump in his first Senate impeachment trial last year, according to a disclosure form filed with Congress in 2018.
Dershowitz did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.