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Isabel dos Santos hits back with new accusations against Angola

By Estelle Maussion
Posted on Wednesday, 27 May 2020 10:52

Russia: 2019 Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, Day 1
Isabel dos Santos gives an interview to the TASS/Sipa USA Russian News Agency on the sidelines of the 2019 Russia-Africa Economic Forum at the Sirius Park of Science and Art. Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Sipa USA Host Photo Agency

The businesswoman has presented new evidence accusing the Luanda authorities of using falsified documents to freeze her assets.

This is the second set of accusations launched against Angolan justice just two weeks, to the day, after a first charge.

READ MORE Isabel dos Santos accuses Angola of fake documents to freeze her assets

In a statement issued on Tuesday 26 May, Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, launched a new attack against the preventive freezing of her assets decreed by Angola at the end of December 2019.

The businesswoman, weakened since the revelation in mid-January of the shadowy areas of her financial empire in the context of theLuanda Leaks, once again accuses the Angolan prosecutor of having relied on “falsified” documents to freeze her assets, although a similar decision was also taken in February by the Portuguese justice system.

A letter from the intelligence services

More specifically, the press release criticises the Angolan judiciary for having placed as evidence in the file an “undated and unsigned memo” but “attached to an official letter from the Angolan Intelligence Services” attesting that Isabel dos Santos, a shareholder of the telephone operator Unitel, was seeking to sell her shares in the company “to an unidentified investor from the United Arab Emirates”.

READ MORE Angola: Isabel dos Santos indicted for embezzlement and more      

This movement “was considered as ‘evidence’ demonstrating the ‘imminent risk of dissipation of assets’, a condition required by Angolan law to order the freezing of assets,” the statement said, adding that “Isabel dos Santos’ lawyers have written to Interpol to request an investigation into these irregularities.

More than five billion dollars in damages

The Angolan Public Prosecutor’s Office did not respond immediately. After Isabel dos Santos sent an initial communiqué on 12 May alleging a fake passport and false emails, the Luanda authorities denied the accusations, stressing that the state estimates that the damages in the proceedings against her exceed five billion dollars.

READ MORE  Angola: on the trail of stolen billions

The Angolan justice system is investigating alleged embezzlement and irregularities in transactions carried out by joint ventures between companies controlled by Isabel dos Santos and public entities.

READ MORE Angola: Where did all the money go? Part 5, the fight back

In this context, this new statement seems to strengthen the arm wrestling between the eldest daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos and the justice system of her country, to which she has not returned since mid-2018. “The assets freeze should be lifted immediately and the Portuguese authorities notified,” said one of her new lawyers, Dan Morrison, a British lawyer and founder of Grosvenor Law.

A combative approach to litigation

If the offensive was not clear enough, the profile of this lawyer confirms it. Dan Morrison praises on his own websitehis combative approach to litigation” and claims victories in cases as diverse as the release of a leader held hostage in Africa, the recovery of funds in the Madoff case or “the cancellation of a $3 billion asset freeze injunction”.

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