Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s Richest Woman, Set to Face Embezzlement Charges in Angola


Angola has sought help from Portugal, its former colonial ruler, in the corruption investigation. Ms. dos Santos has links to several Portuguese companies, including EuroBic, the European arm of an Angolan bank in which Ms. dos Santos owns a 42.5 percent stake.

On Thursday, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported that a EuroBic banker who managed the Sonangol account, Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, was found dead Wednesday night at his house in Lisbon. Lusa reported that his death was most likely a suicide, citing a police source.

Mr. Pitta Grós traveled to Lisbon on Thursday to meet with the Portuguese attorney general, Lucília Gago, and discuss the allegations against Ms. dos Santos, among other issues, according to Portugal’s public service broadcaster, Rádio e Televisão de Portugal.

Angola has immense oil and mineral wealth, but many of its people live in deep poverty, without access to basic services, and the country is rife with corruption.

The recently leaked documents provide a detailed account of how Ms. dos Santos exploited her country’s resources, acquiring stakes in Angola’s lucrative diamond industry, banks, the leading cement manufacturer and the largest mobile phone company — often through orders signed by her father, José Eduardo dos Santos. She has denied any wrongdoing and has long maintained that she is a self-made woman.

The leaked materials revealed that in November 2017, when Ms. dos Santos was chairwoman of Sonangol, $57 million was transferred from the oil company to a Dubai company owned by a friend of hers. In the hours after her father’s successor announced that she was being fired fromSonangol that month, an additional $38 million was transferred from the company, draining its account at EuroBic.

The bank announced on Monday that it was ending its “commercial relationship” with Ms. dos Santos, and would be investigating transfers worth tens of millions of dollars and said it would audit the November 2017 transfers and report its findings to Portugal’s central bank.

Source : Nytimes