Angolan Court Seizes Assets Of Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s Richest Woman

Angolan Court Seizes Assets Of Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s Richest Woman

super-rich isabel dos santos
An Angolan court has seized assets belonging to Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, who is reportedly worth around $2.1 billion. In this image released on Friday, March 15, 2019, Isabel dos Santos, Unitel Chairperson, speaks on stage. Image: Unitel Angola via AP Images

An Angolan court has ordered the seizure of assets and bank accounts belonging to the billionaire daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Isabel Dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, is reportedly worth around $2.1 billion, according to Forbes.

She is being investigated alongside her husband Sindika Dokolo in a corruption probe involving more than $1 billion, AlJazeera reports.

The administration of President Joao Lourenço is seeking to recover money from Isabel dos Santos and her associates.

The investigation is focused on alleged irregularities involving state-owned companies including the oil giant Sonangol, which Isabel led as chairwoman, and a diamond-marketing firm, Sodiam.

Isabel dos Santos has built a business empire

Dos Santos no longer lives in Angola, saying she moved away because her life had been threatened.

She runs an extensive business empire with stakes in companies in Angola and Portugal. 

The former president’s daughter owns a stake in Angolan telecommunications firm Unitel, cement company Cimangola, and bank Fomento de Angola, The New York Times reports. Dos Santos also has shares in Portuguese cable television firm Nos SGPS.

Despite Angola’s large oil, gas and mineral reserves, the majority of Angolans live in poverty.

Responding to the court action, 46-year-old Isabel took to Twitter to send “a message of tranquility and confidence to my teams.” 

“We will continue, every day, in every business, doing our best and fighting for what I believe in for Angola. The road is long, the truth will prevail. United we stand strong,” she said.

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Isabel’s father Jose Eduardo dos Santos served as a dictator in Angola for 38 years until voluntarily relinquishing power to his hand-picked successor Lourenço in 2017.

Dos Santos’ Angolan presidency was characterized by allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.

He put his children in positions of power within state-owned companies, allowing them to allegedly siphon off money from those firms to build their personal fortunes. This is what Isabel dos Santos is accused of doing.

The former president’s son, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, 41, who is Isabel’s half-brother, went on trial in December for alleged corruption, according to TimesLive. He is accused of embezzling as much as $1.5 billion from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.