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Gecamines' €200M credit line probed for alleged money laundering, fraud

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Gecamines' €200M credit line probed for alleged money laundering, fraud

Local prosecutors are investigating a €200 million line of credit issued to Democratic Republic of Congo-owned Gécamines SA in October 2017 by Ventora Development, formerly Fleurette Mumi, due to possible money laundering and fraud, Reuters reported, citing unidentified sources.

Ventora Development is owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who is under U.S. sanctions. Reuters mentioned a report by the Africa Progress Panel in 2013 stating that the country had an estimated foregone revenue of US$1.36 billion between 2010 and 2012 due to five mining deals involving Gecamines and Gertler.

Gecamines' interim director-general Jacques Kamenga denied the allegation and said that the company borrowed €128 million from Fleurette Mumi's line of credit in October 2017, two months before sanctions were imposed, as Gecamines would use the money to pay tax advances in Congo.

Due to the sanctions against Gertler, lawyers advised Gecamines not to reimburse the loan, Kamenga explained.

Ventora Development sued Gecamines in October for repayment of the loan and a Congolese court ordered the state-owned company in November to pay nearly €152 million euros of the loan principal and interest, Kamenga and Ventora said.

However, Gecamines appealed the ruling and has not made any payment yet.

The report noted that Gecamines and Gertler have faced allegations of corruptions in the past from watchdog groups related to the sale of mining assets in the country.