Israeli diamond dealer Dan Gertler (pictured) apparently wants to have U.S. sanctions against him removed—and he’s enlisted some high-powered help.
A form filed on Nov. 5 discloses that Gertler has hired attorney Alan Dershowitz, former FBI director Louis Freeh, and Freeh’s law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, to lobby the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) on his behalf. The representation dates back to last November, the form says.
In December 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order slapping OFAC sanctions against Gertler and 19 associated entities under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
A Treasury Department statement charged that Gertler “has amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” It alleged the country “reportedly lost over $1.36 billion in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler.”
Last June, OFAC sanctioned 14 more entities associated with Gertler.
U.S. citizens and companies are prohibited from engaging in transactions from OFAC-sanctioned entities.
Dershowitz told CNBC, which first reported the registration, that he was “acting as a defense lawyer, not a lobbyist. But the rules require registration if you present a defense to a nonjudicial agency.”
Last year, The New York Times reported that Dershowitz was advising Gertler, who he called a “a very good person” who is “being targeted primarily because of the actions of other people.”
While Dershowitz has become an adviser and occasional defender of President Trump, he told the Times he “would never raise an issue like this” during their meetings.
Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan did not return a request for comment.
After Gertler’s name appeared in the Paradise Papers, which documented previously hidden offshore investments by the world’s wealthy, his lawyers told The Guardian, “Dan Gertler is a respectable businessman who contributes the vast majority of his wealth and time to the needy and to different communities, amounting to huge sums of money. He transacts business fairly and honestly, and strictly according to the law.”
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