Home » Angola’s AG fails to persuade interpol for Isabel dos Santos’ extradition

Angola’s AG fails to persuade interpol for Isabel dos Santos’ extradition

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Isabel dos Santos

Angola’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has referred the responsibility of possibly apprehending businesswoman Isabel dos Santos to Interpol and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), confirming that Helder Pitta Groz was in Dubai as part of their judicial cooperation.

“If she does reside in Dubai, it becomes a matter for the UAE and Interpol,” said PGR spokesman Alvaro Joao, responding to reports that the attorney general recently visited Dubai in an attempt to arrest the Angolan businesswoman, who is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.

A “Red Notice” is a request from a state, in this case Angola, to Interpol member countries, urging them to locate and provisionally arrest an individual with the intention of extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

Joao stressed: “States have sovereignty and may or may not comply based on their interests. However, the focus is not solely on Isabel dos Santos [the target of several lawsuits] but on various cases connected to the UAE.”

When asked if Angola has initiated any extradition proceedings against dos Santos, the same official replied that it is unnecessary as Interpol is responsible for making the arrest.

“The extradition request is only initiated once the person in question is apprehended,” he added.

According to the PGR spokesperson, Groz has traveled to several countries, including Portugal, Singapore, and the UAE, among others, to enhance cooperation with similar institutions under existing bilateral and multilateral agreements.

“Approximately three weeks ago, he visited the UAE to address current matters of common interest since the Attorney General’s Office is the central authority for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters. While several issues were discussed, they did not specifically focus on the alleged extradition of Isabel dos Santos,” he said.

Joao also noted that although there is no extradition agreement between the two states, the principle of reciprocity applies under international law. He explained: “If plausible reasons are not provided to support the requesting state’s claim, tomorrow, reciprocally, this state’s requests would also go unanswered.”

The Angolan justice system has repeatedly urged Portuguese authorities and other countries to collaborate in legal proceedings occurring in Angola and internationally, with a particular emphasis on cases involving dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.

Several shareholdings in companies and bank accounts belonging to the Angolan businesswoman have been frozen or seized in Angola, Portugal, and other jurisdictions where legal action is being taken against her.

Dos Santos has faced corruption charges for years, including allegations that she and her late husband, Sindika Dokolo, who passed away in October 2020, embezzled nearly $1 billion of public funds from companies in which they held stakes during her father’s presidency, including oil giant Sonangol.

The daughter of Angola’s former president, who died in July last year, has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

According to the Angolan official, if extradition is unnecessary, there is no reason for an Interpol Red Notice, as it would be a waste of taxpayer resources.

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