US reimposes sanctions on Israeli tycoon

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The US has reversed a decision to temporarily ease sanctions on Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who is accused of corruption over mining deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The license previously granted to Mr Gertler is inconsistent with America’s strong foreign policy interests in combatting corruption around the world, specifically including U.S. efforts to counter corruption and promote stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),” a statement from the US State Department.

The latest US move reverses a decision granted in former President Donald Trump administration’s final days.

The US Treasury initially imposed the sanctions against Mr Gertler in 2017 and 2018 – which prohibited him from doing business with US citizens or institutions, effectively barring him from the international banking system.

It accused him of corruption and abusive mining practices, and using his partnership with former DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to secure deals.

Mr Gertler denies any wrongdoing.

The Trump administration had given Mr Gertler a one-year reprieve until 31 January 2022, to be able to continue doing business with US companies.

But anti-corruption groups condemned the move, calling on the new administration under President Joe Biden to reverse the decision.

DR Congo is one of the richest countries by mineral wealth in the world, but majority of its citizens live in poverty.

 

 

 

BBC/Olawunmi Sadiq

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