(Republished from, Politico.cd, via www.congosynthese.com, 03/10/2018)
Gertler, a friend of Kabila
Dan Gertler built his fortune, estimated at $ 1.26 billion by Forbes magazine in 2015, on a stroke of poker. Grandson of a diamond dealer, he landed in 1997, at the age of 23, in Kinshasa, capital of a country then at war and directed for a few more months by Mobutu Sese Seko. Rebel leader Laurent Désiré Kabila needs money and weapons to launch the assault on the capital. The young Israeli is eyeing the diamond deposits in the east of the country. The two men get along. “Dan” raises $ 20 million to fund the rebellion. In exchange, he obtained from Laurent Désiré Kabila, who became president, a virtual monopoly on diamonds.
When the “Old Man” died, assassinated in January 2001 by one of his guards, his son, Joseph Kabila, then aged 30, took power. Dan Gertler is courting this quiet and inexperienced young president whom he met on the front line in Katanga during the second war in the DRC (1998-2003). The Israeli businessman becomes his special envoy with the mission of negotiating the support of the United States. He also allegedly made his private jet available to him.
In fact, their friendship seems to continue beyond the brutal end of the diamond monopoly this year 2001. Dan Gertler is even invited to the wedding of Joseph Kabila five years later. He approaches especially the closest adviser to the president: Augustin Katumba Mwanke. Man has the upper hand on the management of Congolese raw materials. In the early 2000s, he was the one who gave Dan Gertler the keys to the DRC safe.
(Politico.cd, via www.congosynthese.com)