Belgian businessman on the European sanctions list for illegal gold trading in Congo

The European Union has placed Belgian businessman Alain Goetz on its sanctions list. Goetz is accused of profiting from the illegal gold trade in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alain Goetz is the director and the ultimate beneficiary of the African Gold Refinery in Uganda. "Since 2016, African Gold Refinery has illegally received, paid for, refined and traded gold sourced from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo controlled by armed groups," the EU's official bulletin said.

According to the EU, Goetz is allegedly exploiting the armed conflict, instability and insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo through the illegal exploitation and trading of natural resources. 

Goetz opened his refinery in Uganda in 2014, increasing the country's official gold exports by 105,000 per cent in four years. The Belgian exported more than 30 tonnes of gold from Uganda to Dubai, worth a billion euros.

Besides Goetz, five members of various Congolese armed groups, a soldier and former Congolese minister Justin Bitakwira were also added to the sanctions list, which the EU created in 2016 to punish those responsible for human rights violations and violence and instability.

The list now includes 17 people. They are banned from travelling to the EU, and their assets on European soil are blocked. The measures apply until December 12, 2023, but can be extended.


President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni (C) flanked by Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Minerals Development (R) and Alain Goetz, CEO of AGR Limited (C,L) is shown gold flakes at the African Gold Refinery (AGR ltd) in Entebbe on February 20, 2017. The refinery was officially launched on February 20, 2017 and is Uganda's first official gold refinery. Uganda has no big commercial gold mine however, the country is a transit point for gold exports from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has large reserves, and Tanzania, one of Africa's major gold producers.




Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels