Press Release / / 03.17.22

BREAKING: US Sanctions Goetz for Illicit Gold Trade – Experts: “Shockwaves”


US Treasury Sanctions Alain Goetz, Refinery and Network for Illicit Gold Trade

March 17, 2022 (Washington, DC) — Today, the US Department of the Treasury announced sanctions on Alain Goetz, the African Gold Refinery in Uganda, and a business network for involvement in the illicit movement of hundreds of millions of dollars in gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Investigations by The Sentry including a major report “The Golden Laundromat” previously raised concerns around the gold trade activities of Goetz, the refinery, and linked companies, calling for targeted sanctions to be considered.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “For five hundred years, outsiders have colluded to steal, smuggle, and monopolize Congo’s extraordinary natural resources, to the great benefit of the rest of the world.  The DRC, however, has been decimated by this looting machine.  The US Treasury Department is finally bringing an end to that impunity, with sanctions against the likes of Alain Goetz today and Dan Gertler over the last few years.  Unless there is a serious cost to violently extracting Congo’s natural resource base, the looting will continue.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Policy Consultant at The Sentry, said: “This strong action by the US will send shockwaves throughout the global gold supply chain. Turning a blind eye to conflict gold now carries a heavy price. Conflict gold has been a key driver of armed conflict in the DR Congo, where over 5 million people have died. Today’s sanctions are a strong step to build accountability and reform the conflict gold trade to a peaceful trade.”

The action by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, as amended by E.O. 13671, which targets “individuals and entities involved in activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the DRC or that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the DRC.”

US Treasury press release:

Read The Golden Laundromat report:


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About The Sentry
The Sentry is an investigative and policy organization that seeks to disable multinational predatory networks that benefit from violent conflict, repression, and kleptocracy.

Pull back the curtain on wars, mass atrocities, and other human rights abuses, and you’ll find grand corruption and unchecked greed. These tragedies persist because the perpetrators rarely face meaningful consequences. The Sentry aims to alter the warped incentive structures that continually undermine peace and good governance. Our investigations follow the money as it is laundered from war zones to financial centers around the world. We provide evidence and strategies for governments, banks, and law enforcement to hold the perpetrators and enablers of violence and corruption to account. These efforts provide new leverage for human rights, peace, and anti-corruption efforts.

Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice. Learn more at