Isabel Dos Santos: Portugal Freezes Bank Accounts of Africa’s Richest Woman Under Fraud Investigation

The former Sonangol chairwoman, Isabel dos Santos, is accused of embezzlement and money laundering. This occurred during her time as chairwoman of state oil firm Sonangol.

Isabel dos Santos

Isabel dos Santos is an Angolan businesswoman. She is the eldest child of Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos. He ruled Angola for thirty-eight years. She is Africa’s richest woman. Her wealth is estimated to result from taking stakes in companies, her family’s power, and connections.

For more than twenty years, Isabel held the management position in several companies. In the 1990s She was the engineering project manager for Ubana 2000. At that time, the company secured a contract to disinfect the city.

Following that, she established trucking business. She ventured into telecom via walkie talkie, and in 1997, she initiated the Miami beach club. Her first business.

In 2016, her father appointed her chairwoman of Angola state oil company, Sonangol. However, she lost her job as chairwoman merely two months after resuming to office.

In 2019, dos Santos, her husband, Sindika Dokolo, as well as, Már Filipe Moreira Leite da Silva thewere probed by the Luanda Provincial Court. A document from the court reveals that dos Santos purchased assets, as well as other possessions, using funds from two state-owned companies.



Embezzlements and money laundering

Documents presented by the Luanda Provincial court revealed how dos Santos built her empire through several questionable deals. Although Angola is one of the world’s largest oil reserves, the country has been in recession since 2016.

In 1999, the president gave dos Santos a 24.5% share on Angola Selling corp. Dos Santos also licensed to sell Angolan diamonds to a company controlled by her mother and herself. The documents revealed that dos Santos’s husband used Angolan state funds to finance a deal as a stakeholder in the Swiss luxury jeweler De Grisogono.
Accusations Involving International Companies
In 2016, advisers of dos Santos hired Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey to rescue the struggling Sonangol. An invoice from shell companies reveals the payment of  millions of dollars to these consulting firms.

According to the documents, global banks such as Citibank and Deutsche have refused to work with dos Santos. Director of Africa Programs at Chatham House, Alex Vines, commented on the role of the consulting firms employed by dos Santos.

He said, “This is a story that goes way beyond Angola.” director of the Africa Program at Chatham House. “These consultancy firms were really guns-to-hire, very mercenary, and looking at the high fees they could extract without much of a moral compass, that’s alarming. These firms need to do a significant moment of reflection and introspection of whether they have actually lost their way just because of the desire for high-profit margins.”

EuroBic, the Portuguese bank, declared its intentions to end existing deal in which dos Santos. who is a major shareholder of the bank. The bank has stated that in addition to ending all business relationships with dos Santos, it will investigate all transactions made via their banking system.

Portugal Freezes Bank Accounts Of Isabel Dos Santos

The former chairwoman of Sonangol, dos Santos told Russian media last month that she “always kept” her Russian citizenship. In response to dos Santos’ comment, Portugal froze her bank accounts in order to prevent her from making further illegal transactions and fleeing the country.

Aithourities believed that once international pressure becomes too unbearable, the business mogul would attempt to flee to Russia. She will be protected from prosecutions in Portugal or its former colony of Angola in Russia.


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