Human Rights First Welcomes Revocation of License to Sanctioned Businessman Dan Gertler
WASHINGTON – Human Rights First welcomes the decision by the U.S. Treasury and State Departments to revoke the sanctions license that was issued to Dan Gertler in the final days of the Trump administration. This license granted Gertler and his businesses access to assets previously frozen under the Global Magnitsky Act.
“The Trump administration issuing a license to Dan Gertler under questionable circumstances seriously undermined the United States’ credibility and commitment to fighting corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and around the world,” said Amanda Strayer, Associate for Human Rights Accountability at Human Rights First. “Today’s revocation ensures that Gertler faces the consequences of his corrupt dealings. Equally important, it sends a clear message to other corrupt actors: they cannot cozy up to the U.S. government to get around sanctions. Now the Treasury Department must conduct a thorough investigation into how this license was issued to uncover any corruption and ensure it does not happen again.”
Gertler and dozens of affiliated persons and entities had been sanctioned since 2017 for corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that drained the country of at least $1.36 billion, according to the U.S. government. The license renewing Gertler’s access to assets was issued outside of normal protocol, after extensive lobbying on Gertler’s behalf by lawyers close to then-President Trump.
Last month, Human Rights First joined Congolese and international human rights and anti-corruption organizations in questioning the circumstances under which the license was granted and calling on U.S. financial institutions to continue implementing the sanctions against Gertler, pending a review of the January 15 license by the Treasury Department.
Since 2017, Human Rights First has organized and trained a global coalition of human rights and anti-corruption NGOs that have worked together to bring credible information to the attention of the U.S. and other governments on potential sanctions designees under the Global Magnitsky Act and other U.S. sanctions programs.