DR Congo : the case of Dan Gertler is making waves in Kinshasa - The Point

After Paris, it is in Kinshasa (despite the closure of borders in the air) that the lawyer, Eric Moutet went to cross iron on 8 July, six days after the publica

DR Congo : the case of Dan Gertler is making waves in Kinshasa - The Point

After Paris, it is in Kinshasa (despite the closure of borders in the air) that the lawyer, Eric Moutet went to cross iron on 8 July, six days after the publication of a joint investigation by the NGO Global Witness and the Platform for the protection of whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF), splashing two of its customers. The first, the israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who has amassed a fortune in the mining of copper and cobalt in the ex-Grand Katanga, is believed to have bypassed u.s. sanctions against to through a network of secretive companies, in order to continue its operations in the DR Congo and to launder money. The second, the bank Afriland First Bank Congo, a subsidiary of a banking group in cameroon, would have been, according to the survey, a " facilitator ".

At a press briefing at the auditorium kin Showbuzz, then over interviews to Radio television national congolese, and in the private media, to Me, Moutet shouted to the falsification of documents, refusal of cross-examination of the evidence on the part of both NGOS based in London and Paris, and their interference in the affairs of the DR Congo, serinant : "Imagine that a congolese NGO vienna to ask Emmanuel Macron to investigate men of the French business ? "

A counter-offensive in the media muscular, in the wake of the complaint filed in the judicial court of Paris on the 1st of July by Me Moutet, in the name of Afriland First Bank Congo. Are referred to Global Witness and PPLAAF, including " blackmail ", " private bribery ", " violation of bank secret ", " forgery and use of forgery ". The complaint, seen by The Point of Africa, it takes the investigators (a journalist who "terrorizes" his interlocutor, one that " offered to pay money to the agents of the local administration to get the paperwork and trade in the DRC ") or contesting certain evidence (" the stolen files to the bank have been falsified before being given to NGOS, or modified after').

The report of Global Witness and PPLAAF, entitled " penalties, mine of nothing ", laments his side that no proof of these allegations has been provided. The lawyers londoners and parisians of the opposing party "would seek to lead us confound," says Margot Mollat, which details the maneuvers of business against the two NGOS on his blog. Head of campaign at Global Witness, she co-investigated for more than a year on this folder.

Read also DR Congo : the fiction of the support of Africa to Kabila

Sanctions, new companies and carry bags

Dan Geltler is at the heart of a corruption case that makes a lot of noise in the DR Congo. © DR

it All begins in December 2017. Under the law Magnitsky act (act on the liability for human rights), Dan Gertler and the ten-eight of its companies are sanctioned by the United States. Gertler " has used his close friendship with the congolese president Joseph Kabila to impose itself as an intermediary in the sale of mining assets in the DRC [...] Between 2010 and 2012 only, the DRC would have lost more than $ 1.36 billion of revenue due to the under-evaluation of mining assets sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler ", argues the u.s. Treasury. The list goes on and in June 2018 with fourteen new companies linked to Gertler sanctioned. To be clear : any individual or company engaged in a business transaction with companies owned 50 % or more by magnate israel is liable to prosecution.

However, the controversial Dan Gertler appears to have been little gun-shy by this punishment. The investigation of PPLAAF and Global Witness examines the constellation of companies that reconstitutes itself in this period, " with an apparent link with Gertler ". Companies repatriated, newly created, and for the most part clients of Afriland First Bank Congo. It also identifies to the puzzling payments bank. Within six months of the penalties of 2017, 16 cash deposits for a total amount of about € 11 million are registered out of ten companies freshly created by Alain Mukonda, business partner congo Dan Gertler. His name appears on bank documents of Afriland First Bank Congo mentioning these cash payments.

march 8, 2018, are $ 6 million in cash, which are deposited on an account in the same bank, created two months earlier by Shlomo Abihassira, a family friend Gertler. According to the statements of account examined by PPLAAF and Global Witness, Shlomo Abihassira would have filed more than $ 19 million between January 23 and June 19, 2018. This total amount is then passed on another account, before finding himself on the one of Orta, the other company created in February 2018 by a Frenchman, Elie-Yohann Berros, who has no link with the DR Congo... but with Dan Gertler. Forty-nine million dollars shall be deposited in thirteen times on the account of that company between August 2018 and march 2019.

Trace the money and the companies "related" to Dan Gertler, is to enter into a network sprawl, where there are French Ben Ezra, involved in the scam so-called " carbon tax ", a "true-false Russian billionaire supposed to lead a swiss company that makes forward millions of dollars in DR Congo, but one that actually" drives a Peugeot opportunity of 2007 "... Between straw men, shell companies and money transfers to be impaired, this system, believe the investigators, " would seek to launder large amounts of money in the DR Congo and the international ".

above all, Dan Gertler is active in the mines, according to them. Among the myriad of companies that emerged after the u.s. sanctions connected to its network, Evelyne Investment, created in September 2018 – and a client of the bank Afriland –, was signed shortly after a contract farm with Gécamines, the public company in the drc. Contacted by The Point of Africa, the latter did not wish to comment.

The civil society to rise

In Kinshasa, no official reaction has filtered for now. The president Tshisekedi – who has re-established in march of diplomatic relations between DR Congo and Israel – was " a "stay private" in Belgium, reported on Sunday, July 5, RTBF. This "vacuum" has given more resonance to the word of the lawyer, Eric Moutet. The accusations of "blackmail" to NGOS or "report bidonné" is spreading on social networks and in the media. But on the side of civil society, it is a different story.

Of congolese organizations were already mounted in a niche on the big cases of Dan Gertler in the Congo. For example, in December, 2019 in the context of a loan of 128 million euros granted in October 2017 his company Mumi Whipping Gécamines – loan and conditions of repayment which are the subject of an investigation by congolese justice. The campaign "The Congo is not for sale" called the keeper of the Seals to communicate its achievements. "Other investigations should be carried out. If it is established that Dan Gertler was able to launder money, it is necessary that the banks involved are punished, and one can elucidate the source of the funds deposited in the bank, " explains the Point Africa Ernest Mpararo, executive secretary of the League of congolese fight against corruption (Licoco), a member of Transparency international. And to call the ministries of Mines and Justice, to respond.

The" hustle and bustle troublesome " of Afriland

For the consultant and economist congolese Al Kitengue, the bank covered by the survey, Afriland First Bank Congo, must also be responsive, but other than filing a complaint in France against the authors of the report. A "hustle and bustle" as he calls it, "embarrassing" : "The bank does not contradict the facts, but attack his detractors on other aspects, in a logic of diversion. It is a way to exist on the public square, but a bad way of managing the crisis. "Remove the allegations of the report on its shortcomings in terms of bank regulation, facts after facts, so as argued, it seems to be a better strategy, especially given that" the Americans are going to be interested in the question in the light of sanctions and that the bank Afriland will have to defend themselves. "

Al Kitengue also believes that "the central Bank of Congo (BCC)" shall establish the truth, a and exclusive, in a transparent manner ". Did she already release on its intention to elucidate the possible gaps of the duty of care vis-à-vis the customer to Afriland First Bank Congo ? "For the moment, no. But the pressure will increase and it will be obliged to decide. It is the civil society, which leads her (to do so), " he concludes. Expertise expected, and valuable, having regard to the shock wave caused by this report, from Kinshasa to London by way of Paris.

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Updated Date: 10 July 2020, 18:33

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