US sanctions man linked to Israeli investor in mining corruption scandal

The US Treasury Department said in a statement it designated Alain Mukonda, accusing him of making payments into proxy bank accounts for investor Dan Gertler.

 Signage is seen at the United States Department of the Treasury headquarters in Washington, DC (photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)
Signage is seen at the United States Department of the Treasury headquarters in Washington, DC
(photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a Democratic Republic of Congo national it accused of providing support to Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler, part of a policy to target corruption in the central African country.

The US Treasury Department accused Alain Mukonda in a statement of making payments into proxy bank accounts for Gertler following his designation in 2017. The Treasury said Mukonda made cash deposits totaling between $11 million and $13.5 million into accounts of companies he incorporated that ultimately belong to Gertler's family.

Washington's designation of Mukonda was the first in an expected series of sanctions announcements this week during President Joe Biden's US Summit for Democracy.

Twelve companies linked to or associated with Mukonda in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gibraltar were also added to the sanctions list.

"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," Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in the statement.

 Workers mend a pipe as crushed ore is transported on a conveyor belt at the Kibali gold mine Haut-Uele province, Democratic Republic of Congo October 8, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/Hereward Holland) Workers mend a pipe as crushed ore is transported on a conveyor belt at the Kibali gold mine Haut-Uele province, Democratic Republic of Congo October 8, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/Hereward Holland)

 

The US imposed sanctions on Gertler and more than 30 of his businesses in December 2017 and June 2018, accusing him of leveraging his friendship with former Congo President Joseph Kabila to secure lucrative mining deals.

Gertler denies any wrongdoing.

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

The United States for years has imposed so-called Global Magnitsky sanctions on those accused of corruption, human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions around the world. A US law was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer who died in custody in 2009.

Biden's administration in March revoked a sanctions waiver for Gertler that was issued in the last days of former President Donald Trump's administration. Congolese and international human rights groups and several U.S. lawmakers called for the reversal.