Home » U.S. sanctions Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos for involvement in corruption

U.S. sanctions Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos for involvement in corruption

by Mfonobong Nsehe

Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos has been sanctioned by the United States for her involvement in corruption and the misappropriation of public funds for her personal benefit.

Dos Santos was targeted alongside other individuals in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe on Thurs., Dec. 9, International Anti-Corruption Day, as the United States scales up measures to target graft around the world, including through visa bans and financial sanctions.

The move was made in line with the U.S. commitment to elevate anti-corruption measures as a core national security priority and a key pillar of the “Summit for Democracy,” as the restriction was spurred by years of mismanagement and corruption that impoverished Angola.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the sanction was imposed “for her involvement in significant corruption by misappropriating public funds for her personal benefit.”

The sanction imposed on dos Santos falls under the Global Magnitsky Act, which is used to target foreign officials implicated in alleged corruption or human rights abuses. It includes visa restrictions and will prevent U.S. entities from dealing with the businesswoman.

Under the designation, dos Santos and her immediate family are now barred from entering the United States.

The sanction comes two weeks after her younger, brother Jose Filomeno “Zenu” dos Santos, was served a five-year prison sentence by the Supreme Court of Angola after he was found guilty with three others of fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling.

Dos Santos was once considered Africa’s richest woman, according to Forbes magazine, with a net worth exceeding $2 billion.

In January 2021, she was dropped from Forbes Africa’s wealthiest list after her bank accounts and assets in Angola, Portugal and the Netherlands were seized due to corruption allegations by Joao Lourenco, the current president of Angola.

She owes $340 million in debt to the Portuguese company, PT Ventures.

In July, after finding dos Santos guilty of exploiting the country’s oil wealth, a court in the Netherlands ordered the businesswoman to hand over to Angola shares worth $500 million in the Portuguese oil company, Galp Energia.

Recently, German prosecutors imposed a $178,000-fine on KfW-Ipex-Bank for violating its anti-money laundering laws when it approved a loan transaction to Sodiba, an Angolan beer company owned by dos Santos.

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