Home » Angola Supreme Court orders seizure of $1 billion in assets belonging to Isabel dos Santos

Angola Supreme Court orders seizure of $1 billion in assets belonging to Isabel dos Santos

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Isabel dos Santos.

The Angola Supreme Court (ASC) has issued an order to seize $1 billion in assets belonging to Isabel dos Santos. The Public Ministry requested the seizure, citing evidence of embezzlement, influence peddling, economic involvement in business, and money laundering.

The order also includes the freezing of 70 percent of the shares in the Mozambican telecom company Mstar, of which dos Santos is the primary beneficiary, as well as the seizure of 70 percent of her shares in Upstar Comunicação.

Dos Santos, who was once considered Africa’s wealthiest woman by Forbes with a net worth of more than $2 billion, was removed from the list in January 2021 after her bank accounts and assets were seized in Angola, Portugal, and the Netherlands.

The recent move by the ASC follows the issuance of a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s late former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The Angolan government, led by President Joao Lourenco, previously seized shares in Unitel S.A., the country’s leading mobile telecommunications company, from the billionaire businesswoman and one of her deceased father’s associates, Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento.

The seizure of dos Santos’ assets is part of a larger crackdown on corruption in Angola, which has long been plagued by allegations of mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds.

The government’s efforts to combat corruption have been met with praise from international organizations and countries, but have also faced criticism from some who argue that the campaign has targeted political opponents and overlooked corruption within the ruling party.

Despite the legal challenges facing dos Santos, it remains to be seen how much of her $1 billion worth of assets will actually be seized by the ASC. The legal process can be lengthy, and it is possible that some of her assets may be protected by international laws or treaties.

However, the seizure of such a significant amount of assets is a clear sign of the Angolan government’s determination to hold those accused of corruption accountable and send a message that such actions will not be tolerated.

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