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US sanctions Congolese national linked to Israeli mining tycoon

Treasury Department says the Congolese national provided 'financial lifeline' to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler
US Treasury Department initially levied sanctions against Israeli mining tycoon Dan Gertler in 2017 (AFP/File photo)

The United States has blacklisted a Congolese national for allegedly assisting sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler in alleged corrupt mining practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Treasury Department said in a statement on Monday that Alain Mukonda made payments into proxy bank accounts for Gertler, following his designation by the Treasury in 2017.

The Treasury said Mukonda made cash deposits totalling between $11m and $13.5m into accounts of companies he incorporated that ultimately belong to Gertler's family.

As part of a policy to target corruption in the central African country, the Treasury also announced it was sanctioning 12 entities linked to Mukonda or companies associated with him in the DRC and Gibraltar.

"[The] Treasury is committed to supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo's anti-corruption efforts by going after those that abuse the political system for economic gain and unfairly profit from the Congolese state," said Wally Adeyemo, the deputy secretary of the Treasury.

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"We stand with the Congolese people in their efforts to combat this scourge."

Gertler was sanctioned by the US in December 2017 and June 2018, and accused of using his connections to former Congolese president Joseph Kabila to arrange "opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals". 

The deals were reported to have cost the citizens of the DRC more than $1.36bn in lost revenue from 2010 to 2012 alone, according to the Treasury. 

Former US President Donald Trump had issued a sanctions waiver for Gertler in his final days in office, but earlier this year the Biden administration reinstated sanctions against the mining tycoon.

The curbs announced on Monday brought the number of sanctioned people and entities in Gertler's network to 46, freeze any of Mukonda's US assets and bar Americans from dealing with him.

For years, the US has imposed Global Magnitsky sanctions on those accused of corruption, human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions around the world. 

Gertler has previously denied any wrongdoing, and despite the sanctions, has never been charged.

Middle East Eye reached out to a spokesman for Gertler for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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