The son of Angola’s ex-president has been accused of attempting to defraud US $500 million from the oil-rich nation’s sovereign wealth fund.
Angola National Assembly Building 19898889148Angola National Assembly Building, Luanda (Photo: Wikipedia)Jose Filomeno dos Santos was removed from this position in January after he was named in the Paradise Papers for making personal investments with the nation’s wealth. Now, he has been formally accused of corruption by the Attorney General’s office.
The sum was transferred from Angola’s central bank to a bank in the United Kingdom while he managed the fund during part of his father's rule. Deputy Attorney General Luis Benza Zanga told the BBC on Monday that dos Santos has been forbidden from leaving the country.
The UK’s National Crime Agency froze the money due to suspicions of fraud arising from the extremely large transaction and has said it can be returned to the south African country. “The NCA’s investigation is ongoing and we welcome the co-operation with the Angolan authorities to date,” a spokesperson for the agency told the Financial Times.
Maka Angola, a site run by an Angolan investigative journalist, previously reported that the alleged transfer, part of a scheme involving bogus foreign investments and loans to the Angolan government, took place last year.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled the country for 38 years and was succeeded by President Joao Lourenco who promised to crack down on corruption. Angolan officials stressed that dos Santos would face the full force of the law, suggesting that his political connections would be of little use.
“A pardon will not work...This case will run to its final outcome,” Reuters quoted Luis Benza Zanga, the Vice Prosecutor General and head of the National Directorate for Criminal Investigations.
The Paradise Papers’ disclosures revealed last year that Jean-Claude Bastos, an entrepreneur, was paid more than $41m in just 20 months from the country’s sovereign wealth fund while dos Santos was in charge.