Dan Gertler has been made aware of new claims by Mr Nabi Malala and Mr Gradi Koko. In so far as these claims relate to him, Mr Gertler confirms they are entirely false.
Mr Gertler believes Mr Malala and Mr Koko are victims of Global Witness and PPLAAF’s appalling conduct. They appear to have been co-opted by Global Witness and PPLAAF into assisting them, stolen and falsified documents which they passed to Global Witness and PPLAAF, which has resulted in them being convicted of illegal acts and now facing the death penalty. Global Witness and PPLAAF’sconduct must be investigated by the authorities.
Mr Gertler, for example, holds evidence that someone in the name of Global Witness offered bribes to NGOs in the DRC for confidential information about him.
Mr Malala and Mr Koko, then employees of the Afriland First Bank in the DRC, stole confidential bank data about Mr Gertler. Data was modified and forged, before arriving in the hands of Global Witness and PPLAAF.
Global Witness and PPLAAF published their report dated 2 July 2020 based on that stolen, modified data and other false information. This is despite Mr Gertler’s lawyers putting them on notice as to the position, including by sending them copy bank statements bearing the bank’s seal to demonstrate that they were genuine, and Global Witness and PPLAAF conceding in their report that the information contained in the conflicting “...bank documents defied explanation”. They also said, “Global Witness and PPLAAF cannot definitely prove that Gertler has established a complex network to evade US sanctions since 2017”.
In addition, Mr Gertler offered to pay for an independent forensic audit by international accountants into his companies’ bank transactions. Global Witness and PPLAAF refused this offer.
Mr Gertler has never evaded or sought to evade US sanctions. He has been advised by a leading US law firm that when a Specially Designated National conducts a cash transaction involving US cash dollars outside the United States, where no US person or financial institution is involved, there is no violation of the Global Magnitsky Sanctions Regulations and/or US sanctions law generally. Therefore, Global Witness and PPLAAF’s claims (albeit completely false) with regard to evading US sanctions are complete nonsense. Equally, so are their claims of a suspected money laundering“network”; until their questions were put to him, Mr Gertler had never heard of most of the people alleged to be part of the so-called “network”.
Mr Gertler remains totally committed to complying with the terms and conditions set by the USTreasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, including adopting unprecedented compliance processes to oversee all of his business activities. This compliance will be overseen by respected and independent experts who will ensure that he has adopted and implemented the most stringent anti-corruption policies and measures across all of his businesses. He will work hand in hand with law enforcement, civil society, and international organizations to guarantee this.
Following the publication of their report, Mr Gertler is suing Global Witness and PPLAAF for defamation in France, while Afriland First Bank has instigated a criminal enquiry against them. Mr Gertlerunderstands that various others named in the report are also suing Global Witness and PPLAAF for defamation in France.
Mr Gertler had no involvement in the decision by Afriland First Bank to instigate proceedings against Mr Malala and Mr Koko in the DRC and took no part in the court case. The case ended in a Judgmentwhich found that the Public Ministry: “Has established in fact as in law the offenses of simple theft, counterfeiting, private corruption, violation of professional secrecy and criminal association charged against the summoned Malela Mawani Navy and Koko Lobanga Gradi”.
Global Witness and PPLAAF appear to have exploited these two employees with shocking disregard for the criminal liability the individuals would incur. Having now been found guilty, both individuals face the death penalty in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are unable to return to their homeland, their lives having been destroyed by the reckless decision-making of Global Witness andPPLAAF. On humanitarian grounds, Mr Gertler implores the High Court of Kinshasa/Gombe to commute the sentences of these two individuals.
Global Witness and PPLAAF must now answer two critical questions: Firstly, what did they know about the theft of the data and its modification, including before the publication of their report? Secondly, how is it that Mr Malala and Mr Koko were undefended at the hearing, leading to the imposition of this harshest of penalties?
Originally posted at www.dan-gertler.com