According to the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) – part of the International Court of Arbitration – the transaction under which Isabel dos Santos acquired an indirect 6% stake in the Portuguese oil and gas group Galp Energia via a Dutch company in 2006 is “null and void.”
The NAI arrived at its decision on 23 July, but it went public only after the Dutch daily Financieel Dagblad (FD) published its interview on 30 July. The Institute did not publicly make the announcement itself.
In arbitration proceedings, the parties involved generally agree to keep the decision confidential, reported the FD.
Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, has been accused of corruption by her country’s judiciary.
READ MORE João Lourenço’s Angola
She is also under investigation in Portugal, a former colonial power, and has been implicated in the “Luanda Leaks”, an investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that is centered around 715,000 leaked documents. Forbes magazine had named dos Santos “Africa’s first female billionaire” in 2013.
A binding decision
Before leaving the presidency in 2017, her father had appointed her as head of the powerful national oil company Sonangol, a position from which the current head of state João Lourenço dismissed her in 2018.
The NAI ruling refers to “kleptocratic transactions” through which dos Santos and her husband – Sindika Dokolo, who died last year – personally enriched themselves with Angolan state assets. According to the FD, this is a legally binding civil law judgment.
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.View subscription options