Trump-Issued License Revoked For Criminal Billionaire

The Treasury Department Building in Washington DC.

In December 2017, under President Trump, the United States sanctioned 13 human rights abusers throughout the world. One of those was Dan Gertler. From the statement by the Treasury Department issued at the time:

Dan Gertler (Gertler) is an international businessman and billionaire who has amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Gertler has used his close friendship with DRC President Joseph Kabila to act as a middleman for mining asset sales in the DRC, requiring some multinational companies to go through Gertler to do business with the Congolese state.  As a result, between 2010 and 2012 alone, the DRC reportedly lost over $1.36 billion in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler.  The failure of the DRC to publish the full details of one of the sales prompted the International Monetary Fund to halt loans to the DRC totaling $225 million.  In 2013, Gertler sold to the DRC government for $150 million the rights to an oil block that Gertler purchased from the government for just $500,000, a loss of $149.5 million in potential revenue.  Gertler has acted for or on behalf of Kabila, helping Kabila organize offshore leasing companies.

In 2018, Treasury announced sanctions.

These are commendable actions, for which President Trump received little commendation. To his critics, any positive action performed by Trump was automatically suspect, as they believed he allowed them only if he was to personally gain.

They were proven correct.

Gertler’s people began applying for a specific operating license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Prominent DC lawyers, including Alan Dershowitz, were hired to represent the sanctioned businessman. Despite the high-powered lobbying, there were no significant changes to the case. There was no attempt at recompense for the massive corruption, merely continued efforts to bypass punishment.

Five days before he left office, President Trump’s administration secretly authorized a license for Gertler. While the license was signed by the head of the OFAC as required, the usual steps requiring such a license had been bypassed. Various subordinates, who would normally have to indicate that the businesses in question had been verified to operate within the guidelines of the Treasury Department, had either not been consulted or refused to attest to proper conduct by Gertler’s businesses.

The license effectively nullified the sanctions. They remained in place, but much of Gertler’s US assets were unfrozen and he was allowed to resume operations with various American companies.

While there is no absolute proof, all initial indications bear earmarks of high level corruption. The principals in the case are all public entities with histories of deeply corrupt behavior, standard operating procedures were ignored, and the possibility of monetary or political payoffs is high, particularly as Gertler has significant holdings in Israel, one of the rare countries with which Trump was known to pursue financial and land deals and whose leadership he did not repeatedly antagonize.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revoked the special license yesterday.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.