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Gertler's end

In a landmark deal with the Kinshasa government, the US-sanctioned Israeli mining oligarch agrees to close his businesses in the country

Israeli magnate Dan Gertler's near 25-year stint at the heart of Congo-Kinshasa's mining industry is drawing to a close after he confirmed his agreement to a settlement with President Félix Tshisekedi's government that 'marks the end of Mr. Gertler's business activities in the country'.

In a statement issued on Gertler's behalf on 14 April, Gertler confirmed that he had 'entered into the settlement in good faith and at a significant financial cost, relinquishing control of assets worth more than US$2 billion (AC Vol 63 No 6, President Tshisekedi cuts a deal with Dan Gertler).

Those mining and oil drilling rights were secured over the past two decades starting after Gertler established himself as a close friend of presidents Laurent-Désiré Kabila and his son Joseph Kabila, before working as an intermediary with the likes of Glencore (AC Vol 63 No 13, Gaps in Glencore's guilty plea).

Gertler may calculate that the settlement dramatically reduces the chances of his being prosecuted for bribery and corruption. The subtext of the announcement is that, by accepting the settlement, Gertler hopes to be taken off the United States State Department's sanctions list which has left him 'unable to conduct any new business in the Democratic Republic of Congo or globally over the last five years.'

In exchange for giving up his mining concessions, it is understood that Tshisekedi's government has agreed to pay Gertler's companies $260 million and to help him lobby in Washington to have the sanctions revoked.

The statement also expresses hope that 'the US Government will see he has responded to sanctions in the appropriate manner,' adding that Gertler has suspended a series of defamation lawsuits against civic organisations and media outlets.

Gertler has sought to rebuild his reputation with the help of Israeli political fixer Aron Shaviv, who has a reputation as a spin doctor for leaders that other lobby shops balk at working for, including Congo-Brazzaville's president Denis Sassou-Nguesso (AC Vol 58 No 10, Spinning Africa in Europe).

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