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NBA star tried to fund Congo militias: UN

18 Jan 2012 - 6:32

Islam Times - Dikembe Mutombo, the retired Congolese-American professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the NBA and the oldest player in the NBA at the time of his most recent season, is facing allegations about complicity in a $10 Million gold scam which are yet to be proven.

Former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo is facing allegations that he tried to smuggle $10 million worth of gold from the Congo to the United States as part of a plan to fund African militia groups.

According to a United Nations report, Mutombo, who was born the Democratic Republic of Congo, needed a buyer to smuggle 1000 pounds of gold out of the country.

Due to the Congo\'s ban on mineral exports which is meant to block the militias\' source of income, Mutombo used the help of Houston energy executive Kase Lawal, who has experience trading in minerals in Africa, though the entire deal was bungled in its early stages.

The operation ended at an airport in Goma in eastern Congo with the seizure of a jet airplane carrying the gold cargo and the arrest of St. Mary -- Kase Lawal\'s main accomplice -- and several of Lawal\'s staff.

They are all accused of money laundering and smuggling. More than 1000 pounds of gold was confiscated by Congolese officials and $6.6 million was paid to a local general whose troops supervised the mining.

In addition, around $13 million was spent to recover the plane and Lawal\'s people.

According to St. Mary, Mutombo not only initiated the deal, but he and his family played a key role from the beginning, revealed recently with the release of a United Nations report on Congo\'s militia activity that details the story.

When reached by phone in Atlanta, Mutombo refused to talk about the issue, saying, “I have nothing to say.”