In 2017, the United States launched its Global Magnitsky Sanctions program, meant to target human rights abusers and kleptocrats around the world. The very first list of sanctioned entities included one Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire who had been accused by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, in consultation with the secretary of state and attorney general, of amassing his fortune through a series of “opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Over the next six months, around 30 of Gertler’s companies were further sanctioned, as the Treasury Department forbade him from working with U.S. institutions and froze his American assets. That should have been the end of the story.
What followed instead seems better suited to the pages of a political thriller than a newspaper, with Gertler allegedly attempting to evade the sanctions through a complex money-laundering network that stretched across several continents, while hiring high-profile lawyers to lobby the United States government on his behalf to remove them altogether.