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Dikembe Mutombo allegedly involved in sordid gold scam

Jan 16, 2012, 1:45 PM EDT

Dikembe Mutombo Getty Images

Dikembe Mutombo is a guy known nearly as well for his international humanitarian efforts as his post-block finger wag. A guy well respected around the league.

But this could ruin that reputation — Mutombo was at the heart of a dirty deal to move $10 million in Congolese gold out of that nation and to the United States, reports the Houston Chronicle.

It is a complex story but it starts with this fact — gold being moved out of the Congo is essentially a “blood mineral” the way “blood diamonds” have been a problem in parts of the world. Mafia-like organizations control the mining and sale of the gold, then are using the money from that to fund a civil war in the nation that has cost more than 5 million lives.

This situation involves Houston business man Kase Lawal, who allegedly was approached by Mutombo to move more than 1,000 pounds of gold — worth more than $10 million on the open market — out of the Congo. The two men and others decided to work together but at the last second the deal fell apart when Lawal’s private plane was seized by Congolese militia (loaded with gold and cash).

It is a messy situation. There have been no arrests or charges, but Mutombo does not come off well in this picture — a guy who talks of humanitarian needs on one hand and tries to profit from conflict minerals on the other. He did not comment on the story.

Read the whole thing. It’s fascinating and disturbing. And while it is hard to discern the truth, nobody comes off looking good. Especially not Mutombo.

  1. crillbill - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    There’s a lot of people doing a lot worse. He’s cleaner than every politician running for President.

    • mytthor - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      This is all well and good to say, but this is a case of first world problems. Dealing in conflict minerals is way more morally reprehensible than caving to lobbyists.

  2. mlblogsbig3bosox - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    The Congolese militia gave Mutombo the finger wag.

  3. illegalblues - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM

  4. michflaguy - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Bummer…I always liked Mutombo.

  5. goforthanddie - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Maybe he wanted the gold moved so he could sell it for helpful supplies?

  6. africanballer - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    You people in amercia need to understand the following facts:

    – In our country (Congo) if you can afford it you can buy it

    – Artisanal minimg is allowed and endorsed by the goverment

    – The so-called congo militia that you’re talking about is also involved in the gold trade, they also hustle like everyone else,
    they’re not trying to be heroes just to please you people on CNN.

    – Now Kurt Klein listen, I trade in gold (I do 5 to 10 kilos every 2 months) if you want to make real money like all the other americans crowding our mines you’re more than welcome just email me ( I hope you write for passion more than money because most of your articles are terrible.

  7. mannyicey - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Wait, so I can get into this Congo gold smuggling racket too? That’s kinda cool. How much US coin do you have to put up? Or do they want me to sell it on the market on consignment? (Just kidding, Eric Holder. I was only joking, man.)

  8. glink123 - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    You can bet your sweet arse that if Africa had oil (and not diamonds and gold), the US would have 100,000 troops over there “helping” quell the violence. But it’s just gold and diamonds, so fire away.

    • jcusa514 - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      glink123, get over yourself

    • metalhead65 - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      right the first time we offer any military assistance we are imperialists looking to take advantage of whatever they have to give. let them kill each other proving they are nothing but savages who can’t govern themselves. none of the humanitarian aid we give gets to the people it is suppose to so why give or help?

    • africanballer - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:00 AM

      Africa does have oil in Nigeria, Congo Brazaville (where europeans are busy), and I wont even name the rest. There’s an American military base in Eastern Congo. I wonder why? Oh 10 million ounces of gold siting in one little section of the country the size of texas, but its just gold right glink123?

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