Angola: Isabel dos Santos to return €422m worth of shares to Sonangol

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Monday, 2 August 2021 22:35, updated on Thursday, 5 August 2021 17:23

Isabel dos Santos, here in Porto on 5 March 2015, was absent from the hearing. Paulo Duarte/AP/SIPA

The Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) has declared that Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, will have to return €422m worth of shares to the national oil company Sonangol.

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.

Luanda Leaks

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.

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