On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced new sanctions against human rights abusers and corrupt actors across the globe.
The new executive order, signed by President Donald Trump, was built on the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act passed by Congress last year. The order imposes sanctions on thirteen human rights abusers and corrupt actors, as well as 39 affiliated individuals and entities.
The first individual named, former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, is accused of serious human rights abuses and corruption, including the creation of a terror and assassination squad known as the “Junglers”. Jammeh used the Junglers to kill “…a local religious leader, journalists, members of the political opposition, and former members of the government.”
Jammeh is also responsible for the unlawful withdrawal of nearly $50 million in state funds. In sanctioning Jammeh, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) further announced that it would be sanctioning the following business entities associated with Jammeh: “Africada Airways, Kanilai Group International, Kanilai Worni Family Farms Ltd, Royal Africa Capital Holding Ltd, Africada Financial Service & Bureau de Change Ltd, Africada Micro-Finance Ltd, Africada Insurance Company, Kora Media Corporation Ltd, Atlantic Pelican Company Ltd, Palm Grove Africa Dev’t Corp. Ltd, Patriot Insurance Brokers Co. Ltd, and Royal Africa Securities Brokerage Co Ltd.”
A second individual listed in the latest sanctions is Roberto Jose Rivas Reyes. During his time as President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council, Rivas received a government salary of $60,000 per year, yet was able to amass a large personal fortune, multiple properties, private jets, luxury vehicles, and a yacht. Rivas is accused of perpetrating electoral fraud, and has been described by a Nicaraguan Comptroller General as “above the law”, as investigations into Rivas have been blocked by the Nicaraguan government.
An Israeli billionaire, Dan Gertler, has also been sanctioned, as a result of his corrupt business deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has earned him hundreds of millions of dollars. Gertler is also a close friend of DRC President Joseph Kabila. Because of their relationship, Gertler was able to get President Kabila to require some multinational companies to go through Gertler in order to do business with the DRC. This would result in a loss of revenue of over $1.36 billion in two years for the DRC.
In sanctioning Gertler, the OFAC further announced that it would be sanctioning the following business entities associated with Gertler: “Pieter Albert Deboutte, Fleurette Properties Limited, Fleurette Holdings Netherlands B.V., Gertler Family Foundation, Oil of DR Congo SPRL, Jarvis Congo SARL, International Diamond Industries, D.G.D. Investments Ltd., D.G.I. Israel Ltd, Proglan Capital Ltd, Emaxon Finance International Inc., Africa Horizons Investment Limited, Caprikat Limited, Foxwhelp Limited, Caprikat and Foxwhelp SARL, Lora Enterprises Limited, Zuppa Holdings Limited, Orama Properties Ltd, DGI Mining Ltd, and Rozaro Development Limited.”
The Treasury Department also announced that it would be placing sanctions on the largest arms dealer in the Balkans, Slobodan Tesic, former chief of the Burmese Army’s Western command; Maung Maung Soe; President of ABMC Thai-South Sudan Construction Company Limited, Benjamin Bol Mel; Pakistani organ trafficker, Mukhtar Hamid Shah; Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of former Uzbekistan leader Islam Karimov; Dominican Republic businessman and lobbyist Angel Rondon Rijo; son of the Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, Artem Chayka; Beijing’s former Public Security Bureau Chaoyang Branch director, Gao Yan; former commander of Ukraine’s elite Berkut, Sergey Kusiuk; Guatemalan Congressman Julio Antonio Juarez Ramirez; and former Director General of Gambia’s State Intelligence Service (NIA), Yankuba Badjie.
Disobedient Media will continue to provide coverage of this important story as it develops.