Mr. Gertler had promised American officials that he would follow global anticorruption rules in exchange for the license that the Treasury Department granted him in January. But officials in Congo said freeing him from the sanctions would undermine efforts to fight corruption there and to help the new democratically elected president limit the continued influence of the country’s former leader, Joseph Kabila, an ally of Mr. Gertler’s.
“Restoring the sanctions enables Congolese and U.S. anticorruption efforts to get back on track.” said John Prendergast, a co-founder of The Sentry, a nonprofit human rights group that was among more than a dozen that had called on the Biden administration to revoke the license. “Dan Gertler’s corrupt partnership with former President Joseph Kabila cost the D.R.C. dearly in terms of lost resources, lost services and, ultimately, lost lives.”
In 2019, Mr. Gertler hired Mr. Dershowitz, who has served as a lawyer to Mr. Trump, as well as Louis Freeh, a former F.B.I. director, to work as lobbyists to try to push Treasury to revoke the sanctions.
Mr. Gertler was issued the license after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin directed the acting head of the agency’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to take the step, even though several Trump-era State Department officials in charge of United States relations with Africa told The New York Times that they had been unaware that such a move was about to be taken and that they opposed it.
After the issuance of the license became public, associates of Mr. Gertler said that part of the reason he had been granted special treatment was that he had played some undisclosed role in helping U.S. national security interests. Treasury officials and representatives for Mr. Gertler would not describe the specific nature of the assistance.
The same office at Treasury that had granted the license for Mr. Gertler in January revoked it on Monday, yet another sign of how unusual this series of events has been.
Activists in Congo who have been working for years to try to ensure that the wealth produced by mining minerals in the nation — which is one of the poorest in the world, even though it has some of the world’s most important mineral reserves — said they hoped the action would mean continued progress to combat corrupt deals that shortchanged people there.