Home » Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos accused by Dutch court of diverting $57.3 million

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos accused by Dutch court of diverting $57.3 million

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Isabel dos Santos

The Amsterdam-based Enterprise Chamber has delivered another blow to Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s late former president.

The court has found dos Santos guilty of illegally diverting €52.6 million ($57.3 million) from the state oil company of the southwestern African nation.

The recent judgment adds to a series of legal setbacks for dos Santos, once regarded as Africa’s wealthiest woman. The Dutch court revealed that she channeled the substantial sum into a company she co-owned with her late husband.

A court-appointed investigator described the situation as a “disgraceful state of affairs” involving multiple individuals complicit in dos Santos’ fraudulent acquisition of resources.

The funds were unlawfully diverted through a dividend payment, according to the Enterprise Chamber, which handles corporate matters in Amsterdam.

This latest ruling exposes a pattern of actions by Exem Energy BV, a company determined by the justices to be owned by dos Santos and her late husband.

The court found that the company aimed to benefit dos Santos “on a large scale at the expense of Sonangol,” Angola’s state oil company.

Dos Santos also faces potential involvement in a $400-million London lawsuit initiated by Angolan telecoms firm Unitel.

The lawsuit, filed against dos Santos’ Dutch company Unitel International Holdings (UIH), centers around loans provided to finance UIH’s acquisition of telecoms company shares.

Accusations of corruption have long plagued dos Santos, including allegations that she and her husband siphoned $1 billion from state funds during her father’s presidency, particularly from the oil giant Sonangol.

Last year, her assets in Angola were seized, amounting to almost $1 billion, while other assets linked to her were confiscated in Portugal. In November, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for dos Santos.

Denying any wrongdoing, dos Santos, primarily residing in Dubai, continues to assert that the allegations are part of a “political conspiracy.”

Her lawyer, Richard Hill, emphasized her vehement denial of breaching any director’s duties.

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