The billionaire, who is close to Chabad and senior haredi rabbis, made his fortune in the diamond mining business but has been linked to shady deals, so-called blood diamonds, and the alleged looting of the Democratic Republic of Congo done with the help of corrupt elected officials there – something he denies.
Above: Dan Gertler
Israeli BT Billionaire Claims He Struck Oil – In The Congo
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A Israeli haredi ba’al teshuva’s oil said it has found approximately 3 billion barrels of oil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – about the same amount Britain and South Sudan have in their proven reserves, Ha’aretz reported.
Billionaire Dan Gertler, who is close to Chabad and senior haredi rabbis, made his fortune in the diamond mining business but has been linked to shady deals, so-called blood diamonds, and the alleged looting of the Democratic Republic of Congo done with the help of corrupt elected officials there.
Gertler’s company, Oil of DRCongo, says it found the crude oil near Lake Albert on Congo’s eastern border with Uganda.
It is not yet clear how much of that crude oil is recoverable. Unnamed oil industry sources told Ha’aretz the amount of oil Gertler’s company claims to have found should at this point be considered provisional. They also noted that exporting the oil from eastern Congo, hundreds of kilometers from any port, would be very difficult.
Global Witness and other international nonprofits insist that Gertler, who has close ties to the DRC President Joseph Kabila’s government, got natural resources rights at fire sale prices and then sold them at much greater prices soon afterward – sometimes to the government itself in what appears to be a money laundering schemes meant to benefit Gertler and top DRC officials.
Among other allegedly corrupt deals, they reportedly point to a series of mining deals made between 2010 and 2012.
And in January, Reuters reported that Gertler sold one another Congo-based oil company he owned, Nessergy Ltd., to the government for $150 million – 300 times more than the amount he originally paid for the oil rights.
“Dan Gertler is essentially looting Congo at the expense of its people,” Jean Pierre Muteba, the head of a group of nongovernmental organizations which monitor the mining in part of the DRC, said last year.
A spokesman for Nessergy Ltd. said at the time of the sale that the Nessergy’s oil rights had dramatically increased in value since Gertler bought them in 2006, in part because of the claimed discovery of oil nearby.
Gertler also claims his company has invested more than $7 billion in the DRC’s economy. He strongly denies receiving sweetheart deals at fire sale prices.
Gertler, a scion of Israel’s diamond business, has joint Israeli and Congolese citizenship.