Congo close to deal to recover $2b. worth of assets from Israeli investor

A commission set up to negotiate with Fleurette Group had concluded terms of a memorandum of understanding.

 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 (photo 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
(photo credit: REUTERS/Hereward Holland)

Democratic Republic of Congo is close to a deal with Fleurette Group, controlled by Israeli investor Dan Gertler, that could enable it to recover mining and oil assets worth about $2 billion, minutes of a cabinet meeting showed on Saturday.

The minutes of the Friday meeting said a commission set up to negotiate with Fleurette Group had concluded terms of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which would also enable the government to recover a substantial part of royalties from Kamoto Copper Company that were ceded to the group.

The minutes said President Felix Tshisekedi directed the justice ministry to analyse and sign the MoU as soon as possible to enable Congo to recover full possession of the mining and oil assets.

Fleurette Group could not be reached for comment.

The US Treasury 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.

Statue of the Founding Father at the US Treasury in Washington (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Statue of the Founding Father at the US Treasury in Washington (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Gertler denies any wrongdoing.

Anti-corruption group Congo is Not for Sale (CNPAV), which has previously warned the mineral-rich country could lose out on $1.76 billion in potential royalty payments from copper and cobalt mining deals with Gertler's Group, said in a statement the potential MoU was a first step.

"For years we have been screaming loud and clear that Congo has already lost billions due to deals with Dan Gertler and it will only get worse if nothing is done," CNPAV spokesman Jean-Claude Mputu said in a statement.

He added there were still some crucial aspects of the deal to be clarified, particularly details of the MoU, and the final destination of the assets that will be recovered.