Monday, February 01, 2021

Condoning Corruption

  Trump  reversed US policy and quietly eased sanctions against billionaire Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler. A last-minute license issued by the US Department of Treasury and not publicly announced does not entirely remove Gertler and his companies from the US sanctions list, though it does allow them to conduct business transactions, while requiring them to file reports on financial activities every 90 days. Unlike the pardons and regulatory changes done openly, or any of Treasury's normal methods for undoing sanctions, this was done behind closed doors not only to the public but many professionals in the government as well."

Gertler was put on the sanctions list by the US State Department in December 2017, for "opaque and corrupt mining deals" stemming from his friendship with then Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila. The State Department says Gertler cheated the DRC out of $1.4 billion (€1.15 billion) in tax revenue over the course of a decade. Further sanctions were applied in June 2018. The State Department sanctions barred Gertler from conducting business with US citizens, businesses and banks, essentially prohibiting him from making transactions in dollars.

Gertler, whose name appeared in the Panama Papers in connection with a number of holding companies registered in offshore tax havens, is said to have leveraged his friendship with Kabila to access Congo's rich resources. The desperately impoverished country is home to the world's largest cobalt deposits as well as massive copper, diamond, gold, tin and coltan reserves.

 Now, rights groups are calling on President Joe Biden to reinstate sanctions and to revoke this effective pardon.

Trump secretly eased sanctions against Israeli billionaire on way out | News | DW | 26.01.2021

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