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Washington Could Knock President Tshisekedi With Sanctions Over Gertler Dealings

3 Min Read

The Joe Biden administration does not appreciate Dan Gertler an Israeli mining magnet’s latest dealings with the Kinshasa regime.

Gertler (pictured above) is banned from the American banking system, and forbidden from trading in dollars. He is the man at the centre of corruption in DRC.

In 2017, Dan Gertler was hit with a list of sanctions by the Washington administration for his allegedly corrupt relationship with DR Congo’s former President Joseph Kabila, helping him make a vast fortune from copper and cobalt deals in the country, something both men deny.

President Joe Biden who is keen on a principled foreign policy, including cracking down on international corruption is expected to impose more sanctions.

The US Treasury has concluded an extensive investigation into André Wameso, deputy chief of staff of Félix Tshisekedi in charge of financial matters and the man at the heart of the Gertler-DRC deal.

In February 2022, Gertler concluded an agreement with the Congolese government to hand over his “problematic” mining and oil assets to the DRC. At the heart of this operation, André Wameso and other collaborators of Tshisekedi.

It is in this context that André Wameso, like other personalities in office in Félix Tshisekedi’s cabinet and in the government, found themselves on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklist. In the Wameso case, the investigations are directly linked to his involvement in the February agreement sealed with the Israeli billionaire Gertler.

Dan Gertler is plying pressure on Kinshasa to enact the compromise he signed last month as fast as possible, while on the other, the US wants Felix Tshisekedi’s government to re-evaluate the terms of the agreement it deems very unfavourable.

“If nothing has yet been decided in Washington, its possible placement under sanctions is likely to weaken power as the electoral deadline scheduled for the end of 2023 approaches”, tempers Africa Intelligence.

OFAC officials have just completed their investigations into this file which is now awaiting the opinion of political leaders. “Antony Blinken and Janet Yellen could, however, take their time, as well as not follow up on the placement on the US sanctions list of a prominent figure in Congolese power”.

At the beginning of August, the Congolese media specializing in mining alerted to the possibility of these sanctions and revealed that Dan Gertler – 24 hours before Blinken’s arrival in the DRC – had gone to Kinshasa “for meetings in particular with the Congolese President”. A situation, according to the publication, which has fueled tensions between Washington and Kinshasa and accelerated American investigations.

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