Israeli diamond mogul named in Paradise Papers

Recently leaked documents on offshore holdings reveal Dan Gertler took loan from mining giant Glencore to secure rights in Congo

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Dan Gertler (Screen capture: YouTube)
Dan Gertler (Screen capture: YouTube)

Israeli diamond mogul and billionaire Dan Gertler, whose grandfather co-founded the Israel Diamond Exchange and was its longtime president, was named in the Paradise Papers documents as receiving a $45 million loan from Anglo-Swiss firm Glencore to negotiate and secure mining rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo, foreign media reports said.

The Paradise Papers confirmed that in 2009 Glencore, the world’s largest mining company, gave the loan to Gertler for his close connections with senior figures in the DRC government, under the condition that it would be repayable if an agreement with the local authorities was not attained. The negotiations were for a mining contract for a company linked to Glencore, the Guardian reported.

The details of the deal emerged from the Paradise Papers, a leak of more than 13.4 million documents from two offshore service providers, one of them Appleby, one of the world’s leading offshore law firms.

Gertler, an Israeli businessman and founder and president of Dan Gertler International, has been active in Congo since 1997, when he started his activities seeking rough diamonds. He has since invested in a variety of fields, including in gold, cobalt, copper and agriculture. Forbes has rated his worth at $1.22 billion, saying he built his fortunes through mining ventures in various African states.

Gertler was mentioned by a 2001 UN investigation for giving the DRC president, Joseph Kabila, $20 million to buy weapons for his army to fight rebel groups, in exchange for a monopoly on the nation’s diamonds, the Guardian said.

In February, Glencore agreed to pay Gertler $537 million to for his stake in their shared DRC mining interests. Campaigners say the deal cost the African republic hundreds of millions of dollars, the BBC said in a report by its Paradise Papers team, also detailing the Gertler-Glencore events.

Gertler and Glencore deny any wrongdoing, the BBC said.

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