Will Israel’s government investigate the Israeli billionaire who is looting the Congo?

on 8 Comments

Bloomberg Markets Magazine has just released a stunning look at the 38-year-old Israeli billionaire, Dan Gertler, whose mining deals in the DR Congo, the poorest country in the world, are strongly suspected of corruption.  The Bloomberg article is thoroughly documented, and a brave Congolese activist summarized the case against Gertler:

“Dan Gertler is essentially looting Congo at the expense of its people,” says Jean Pierre Muteba, the head of a group of nongovernmental organizations that monitor the mining sector in Katanga province, where most of Congo’s copper is located.

“He has political connections, so state companies sell him mines for low prices and he sells them on for huge profits.  That’s how he’s become a billionaire.”

The International Monetary Fund is so disturbed at the mega-corruption that it has suspended loans to the DR Congo.  Some 70 percent of the country’s 73 million people are malnourished, and more than 5 million have died since 1998 as a consequence of war.  

The Bloomberg article reports that Gertler flies to Tel Aviv every week to spend the Sabbath with his family, who live there in an ultra-orthodox suburb.  When I was in Congo earlier this year, the word on the street was that Gertler had been something of a hell-raiser in his youth, but he had since found religion.  So far, his faith does not seem to make room for the Congolese people from whom he is stealing.  The article estimates his worth at $2.5 billion — which would be more than one-third of the entire Congolese government budget last year.

An American suspected of mega-corruption would become the target of investigation at both the federal and state levels.  Will Israel’s government start to look into this man’s finances?

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8 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    December 6, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Gertler, whose grandfather co-founded Israel’s diamond exchange in 1947, arrived in Congo in 1997 seeking rough diamonds. The 23-year-old trader struck a deep friendship with Joseph Kabila, who then headed the Congolese army and today is the nation’s president.

    link to youtube.com

  2. American
    December 6, 2012, 9:24 pm

    Oh to heck with all this hand wringing…..
    Send the Navy Seals after Gertler and waterboard him for his bank account.
    And send the US Marines after the Israeli and Congo governments.

    I wonder if I dig up Eisenhower, Elliot Ness and Patton and re bury them in the Pet Cemetery if I can bring them back to life.

  3. sardelapasti
    December 6, 2012, 10:15 pm

    “An American suspected of mega-corruption would become the target of investigation at both the federal and state levels. ”

    Oh, yeah? What planet are you living on, Pollyanna? If not already legal that mega-corruption would be immediately legalized a posteriori and he would be sleeping at the White House the same week. In Saban’s bed.

  4. radii
    December 7, 2012, 1:48 am

    behind every great fortune lies a great crime

  5. Eva Smagacz
    December 7, 2012, 5:16 am

    I didn’t realise that Mondoweiss now has comedy section.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2012, 5:47 pm

      “I didn’t realise that Mondoweiss now has comedy section.”

      Ouch!

  6. Stogumber
    December 7, 2012, 6:08 am

    Reminds to me the business activities of Michail Chodorkovsky. Only Chodorkovsky reinvented himself as the great political hope for Russia – which Gertler can hardly do for Congo.

  7. chinese box
    December 7, 2012, 12:19 pm

    The Bloomberg article reports that Gertler flies to Tel Aviv every week to spend the Sabbath with his family

    That’s got to be at least a six hour flight. I can’t imagine doing that every weekend–maybe once a month. Although something tells me he’s not flying coach…

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