Dan Gertler and Afriland First Bank start legal fight in Paris

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on Tuesday, 6 October 2020 16:46, updated on Friday, 9 October 2020 10:18
Dan Gertler, in June 2012
Dan Gertler, in June 2012. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Israeli businessman and the Cameroonian bank's DRC subsidiary, accused in July by the NGO Global Witness, for, amongst other things, corrupt practices, each filed lawsuits in Paris. A legal wrestle has begun.

On 2 October, Afriland First Bank filed a defamation suit against the British NGO Global Witness (GW) and the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAF) before an investigating magistrate at a Paris court.

The bank, represented by Éric Moutet has filed a civil suit and is attacking the report ‘Undermining Sanctions’  published on 2 July by the GW and the PPLAAF.

Afriland believes that report is defamatory in accusing them of corruption, complicity in money laundering and violating the US sanctions system.

The NGO and the platform, whose director of publication is none other than the lawyer William Bourdon, details the alleged evasion of US sanctions developed in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by businessman Dan Gertler and his associates, including through the Congolese subsidiary of Afriland First Bank.

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Another complaint by the bank (filed on July 1st) is being examined in France by the financial section of the Parisian Public Prosecutor’s Office. Afriland First Bank believes that the documents used by it’s opponents were obtained through “theft and breach of trust”, “blackmail,” “private corruption,” “violation of bank secrecy,” and “forgery and use of forgeries”.

Dan Gertler on the offensive

According to our sources, Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler challenged this report himself in court in Paris.

On October 2nd, he filed a defamation suit similar to that of Afriland First Bank against GW and the PPLAAF, through his lawyer, Emmanuel Daoud (a partner in the law firm Virgo and representative of the International Federation for Human Rights).

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The businessman, party to the civil suit, states that he has been accused in a false and defamatory manner of having built a network of money laundering and corruption in order to escape the American sanctions against him.

Dan Gertler recently decided to intensify his legal fightback after obtaining a verdict in his favour on the 31st of July from the US courts and a New Jersey court against Glencore shareholders.

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Another lawsuit opposing Gertler to Glencore is still pending in Switzerland, where the Israeli tycoon is being represented by lawyer Marc Bonnant.

Berros and Katsobashvili as reinforcements

According to our information, two other of Dan Gertler’s alleged “partners”; Frenchman Elie-Yohann Berros and Russian Ruben Katsobashvili, also filed defamation suits (on their own behalf and on behalf of their respective companies, Evelyne Investissement and Interactive Energy AG) against Global Witness and the PPLAAF through the lawyer Patrick Klugman, on 2 October in Paris.

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According to the NGO and the platform, Berros and Katsobashvili participated in a scheme to circumvent US sanctions, which they both deny. They claim to have provided the NGO with answers prior to the reports publication, which were allegedly ignored by its investigators.

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