Apr 04, 2021 News
Angola’s justice ministry has previously asked Emirati and Mauritian authorities to help it locate the assets of the dos Santos family. Now it is taking the treasure hunt all the way to Singapore. Isabel dos Santos, for her part, is fighting back in court in London.
The request for judicial assistance, which arrived last month, looks like a test case for the Singaporean legal system. As it did with the Emirates (Africa Intelligence, 08/03/21), Mauritius, and Monaco (Africa Intelligence, 15/03/21), Angola’s justice ministry has sent the city-state a request for legal help to locate the assets and bank accounts of Isabel dos Santos, her husband Sindika Dokolo, who died last year, and her proxy, the French businessman of Congolese origin Konema Mwenenge.
In the document, the ministry states that the eldest daughter of former president José Eduardo dos Santos is the subject of legal proceedings in Luanda, in particular for misappropriation of public money. Isabel dos Santos, for her part, claimed last week in a legal filing in London that Angolan président João Lourenço is pursuing a “political agenda and a personal vendetta” against her, and is running a government task force targeting dos Santos “using the resources of the Angolan state and institutionalised power”. That claim is based on recordings made by Israeli investigative firm Black Cube, which is stepping up its business in Africa (Africa Intelligence, 29/09/20)
As Singapore, like Mauritius and the Emirates, is not renowned for its zeal in providing legal assistance, the Angolan request places its authorities in a delicate position. Angola’s national oil company Sonangol is a major client of Singapore’s tax and legal system, which is favoured by all oil traders. The state-owned company has had a subsidiary, Sonangol Asia, in Singapore for nearly 20 years that trades with countries in Asia, the largest importer of Angolan crude.
A sign of the importance of the Sonangol Asia outpost was the fact that it was inaugurated in 2004 by Elisio Avila de Jesus Figueiredo. Figueiredo was a trusted ally of the former president, who put him in charge of Angola’s relations with France and one of the regime’s main business partners, the Franco-Brazilian Pierre Falcone.
Following Sonangol’s example, all the key figures of the dos Santos era domiciled their assets in Singapore. This was notably the case of General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, nicknamed Dino, whose company Cochan was associated in Singapore with the trader Trafigura through the joint-venture DT Group (Trafigura has since bought back Dino’s shares).
Unlike Isabel dos Santos, Dino made an agreement with President Lourenço’s office and returned a significant part of his assets to the regime (Africa Intelligence, 04/03/20), which enabled him to avoid being targeted by the global asset hunt. He is however still the target of several legal proceedings in Angola, even if they are on a much smaller scale than those against Isabel dos Santos.
Republished from: African Intelligence
See story at: https://www.africaintelligence.com/central-and-west-africa_diplomacy/2021/03/30/lourenco-follows-dos-santos-asset-trail-to-singapore%2C109654319-evg?utm_source=AIA&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PROS_EDIT_ART&did=87749564&eid=592293
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