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Trump administration quietly eased sanctions on Israeli billionaire

Mr. Gertler was found to have used his friendship with Mr. Kabila to act as a middleman for mining sales in Congo, forcing other companies to go through Mr. Gertler to do business with the Congolese state, which cost the country more than $ 1.36 billion in revenue, the Treasury Department said in 2017.

“Gertler is an international businessman and billionaire who amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars in opaque and corrupt mining and oil operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” the Treasury Department said in 2018, then that it broadened the sanctions. against him.

The application for a new license to allow US companies to do business with Mr. Gertler has been processed by the law firm Arnold & Porter. Baruch Weiss, a lawyer at the firm who handled the case, declined to comment on Sunday, as did Mr Dershowitz.

Mr. Gertler from 2019 had hired Mr. Dershowitz and Mr. Freeh, as well as Gregory A. Paw, a former federal prosecutor, to work on the matter, with the team then targeting the Treasury and state departments to try to get the changes made, show the lobbying disclosure reports. Gary Apfel, a lawyer who, like Mr. Dershowitz, has been implicated in several successful pardon appeals against Mr. Trump in recent months is also listed to lobby on the matter.

Erich C. Ferrari, an attorney who represents US and foreign companies on sanctions matters, reviewed the license the Treasury issued on January 15 and said he was surprised at how much it seemed to allow US companies to working with Mr. Gertler, despite sanctions in 2017 and 2018.

“While it’s hard for me to believe that a license of this magnitude has been issued and exists, I have to say that it is in fact a license allowing Gertler and the companies 50% or more owned. , directly or indirectly, to engage in business with and through US banks, ”said Ferrari.

The Sentry recommended in a statement on Sunday that U.S. banks do not release Mr. Gertler’s money or “open accounts or conduct transactions for or on behalf of Gertler and his network while this matter is needed. will not be fully investigated and resolved ”.

Kenneth P. Vogel contribution to reports.

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