Africa’s richest woman to sue Angola over fraud accusations

Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s former President and Africa's richest woman, sits for a portrait during a Reuters interview in London, Britain, January 9, 2020. REUTERS
Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s former President and Africa’s richest woman, sits for a portrait during a Reuters interview in London, Britain, January 9, 2020. REUTERS

Africa’s richest woman and Angola’s ex-first daughter Isabel dos Santos plans to sue the Angolan government following accusations against her of fraud made by the country’s attorney general, the BBC reports.

According to Attorney General Pitta Gross, Dos Santos has been provisionally charged with a raft of economic crimes, including money laundering, forgery of documents and influence peddling.

On Sunday, the New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published files allegedly showing how dos Santos siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into offshore accounts.

Dos Santos has denied the accusations terming them as an attempt to erase her father’s legacy and distract from failures under the new government. Isabel’s father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, ruled Angola for 38 years before he stepped down in 2017.

“The allegations which have been made against me over the last few days are extremely misleading and untrue. This is a very concentrated, orchestrated and well-coordinated political attack, ahead of elections in Angola next year. It is an attempt to neutralise me and to discredit the legacy of President Dos Santos and his family.”

Dos Santos, named Africa’s richest woman by Forbes with a fortune estimated at over $2 billion, is a highly divisive figure in Angola, where she is nicknamed “the Princess”. Supporters see her as an inspirational entrepreneur while critics say she symbolises the kind of nepotism and corruption that has plagued the continent.

Meanwhile, a banker named Ribeiro da Cunha, who is implicated in the case against dos Santos, was found dead at one of his properties in the Portuguese capital Lisbon on Wednesday.

Da Cunha’s death, which was reported after he was named as a suspect in the case, is suspected to be a suicide, according to a police source.

Authorities are attempting to recover $1 billion that Dos Santos and her associates allegedly owe the state.