In a significant development, the United States revoked a sanctions waiver to Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler, which was issued during the last days of the Trump Administration.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said, exempting Gertler from sanctions was “inconsistent with America’s strong foreign policy interests in combating corruption around the world,” specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The development comes in the wake of several U.S. lawmakers and international human rights groups calling on the Biden administration to reverse the last minute U.S. move.
In December 2017 and in June 2018, the U.S. Treasury had imposed sanctions on the Israeli mining company accusing it of wining a sweet heart deal worth billions of dollar using personal friendship with former Democratic Republic of Congo’s president.
In its last week in office, the Trump Administration had eased those sanctions.
Treasury sanctions had barred Gertler from doing business with U.S. citizens, companies or banks, thus effectively barring him from doing transactions in U.S. dollars.
Denying any wrongdoings, Gertler said his investments in Congo bolstered the country’s development.
Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, lead author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, said Gertler should not have been granted “an eleventh-hour permit” to do business with U.S. banks and companies.
“If well-connected international billionaires like Gertler think there is a chance they can get away with their corrupt actions, then they will not be deterred,” said Cardin.