26 FEBRUARY 2021
Dan Gertler has been made aware of new claims by Mr Nabi Malala and Mr Gradi Koko. In so far asthese 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 appallingconduct. 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 resultedin 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 bribesto 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 bankdata about Mr Gertler. Data was modified and forged, before arriving in the hands of Global Witnessand PPLAAF.
Global Witness and PPLAAF published their report dated 2 July 2020 based on that stolen, modifieddata and other false information. This is despite Mr Gertler’s lawyers putting them on notice as tothe position, including by sending them copy bank statements bearing the bank’s seal to demonstratethat they were genuine, and Global Witness and PPLAAF conceding in their report that theinformation contained in the conflicting “...bank documents defied explanation”. They also said“Global Witness and PPLAAF cannot definitely prove that Gertler has established a complex networkto evade US sanctions since 2017”.
In addition Mr Gertler offered to pay for an independent forensic audit by international accountantsinto 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 USlaw firm that when a Specially Designated National conducts a cash transaction involving US cashdollars outside the United States, where no US person or financial institution is involved, there isno 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 evadingUS 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 thepeople 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 complianceprocesses to oversee all of his business activities. This compliance will be overseen by respected andindependent 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 lawenforcement, civil society and international organizations to guarantee this.
Following publication of their report, Mr Gertler is suing Global Witness and PPLAAF for defamationin 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 fordefamation in France.
Mr Gertler had no involvement in the decision by Afriland First Bank to instigate proceedings againstMr 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 chargedagainst the summoned Malela Mawani Navy and Koko Lobanga Gradi”.
Global Witness and PPLAAF appear to have exploited these two employees with shocking disregardfor the criminal liability the individuals would incur. Having now been found guilty, both individualsface the death penalty in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are unable to return to theirhomeland, 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 tocommute the sentences of these two individuals.
Global Witness and PPLAAF must now answer two critical questions: Firstly, what did they know aboutthe 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 ofthis harshest of penalties?