WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday blacklisted an additional 14 companies tied to Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, whom Washington accuses of profiting from massive resource corruption in Africa.
The government said the companies allowed Gertler to continue to conduct business despite sanctions imposed on him in December, together with an associate and 19 related companies.
“We are using our tools to change the behavior of those engaged in the looting of natural resources and the humanitarian consequences that follow,” said Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
“A financial toll will be imposed on individuals and companies that exploit innocent people and vulnerable jurisdictions for their own personal gain,” he said in a statement.
The 14 companies are effectively blocked from access to much of the global financial system while any assets under US jurisdiction are frozen.
The sanctions were imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act, US legislation adopted in 2016 which allows for sanctions on anyone deemed responsible for human rights violations or gross corruption.
Transparency campaigners have long accused Gertler of using his friendship with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila to obtain lucrative mineral rights at bargain prices before selling them onward at huge margins.
The Treasury Department said that between 2010 and 2012 alone, DRC had reportedly lost more than $1.36 billion in state revenues from underpriced mining assets sold to offshore companies tied to Gertler.
Long ravaged by bloody civil conflict, DRC is the third-poorest country on earth when ranked by per capita GDP, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency.