Africa's richest woman 'ripped off Angola'

How American companies helped Africa's richest women exploit their country's wealth

Angola's prosecutor general Helder Pitra Gros has vowed to use "all possible means" to bring back businesswoman Isabel dos Santos to answer charges relating to the siphoning hundreds of millions of public funds into offshore accounts, the Guardian has reported.

Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angola's former president is a British-educated billionaire businesswoman faces allegations of plundering the public purse and funneling the money overseas while she headed state's oil company Sonangol - accusations she vehemently denies.

The 36 worldwide media members of the consortium, including the BBC, the New York Times and Le Monde, recruited 120 journalists in about 20 countries to view 715,000 documents, and revealed "how an army of Western financial companies, lawyers, accountants, and employees helped And consulting firms "this 46-year-old lady 'to hide her assets from the tax authorities".

An in-depth investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) into the dealings of Santos whilst she headed Angola's giant state oil company, Sonangol Group found that her accumulated wealth, which she attributed to hard work, may have been the result of "two decades of unscrupulous deals that made dos Santos Africa's wealthiest woman...and left Angola one of the poorest countries on Earth".

Dos Santos has repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing and said they are part of a politically motivated campaign.

The report, dubbed Luanda Leaks, also details how some of the world's leading professional service firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. helped Dos Santos profit from Angola's wealth.

Her husband, a well-known collector of African arts, developed that passion from his billionaire banker father Augustin Dokolo Sanu.

"The ICIJ report is based on numerous false documents and false information, it is a coordinated political attack in coordination with the" Angolan government ". "I build companies and enterprises, I invest and create jobs".

The New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with newspapers such as Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung to reveal the "Panama Papers" tax haven scandal in 2016.

Anti-corruption campaigners responded by claiming that Ms dos Santos has been exploiting her own country for personal gain, with normal Angolan citizens the victims of her lavish lifestyle.

Dos Santos has a home at the Bulgari Resorts, a high-end complex located on a private island in the Jumeirah Bay area, and in 2017 a consulting firm with ties to dos Santos was located in Dubai's Jumeirah Lakes Towers. She said in the first tweet, "My fortune was born from my nature, my intellect and my education, and my ability to work and persevere".

Last month, the Angolan government, which is no longer controlled by the dos Santos family, froze Africa's richest woman, Isabel dos Santos' assets, alleging that she and her husband caused the state to lose more than $1 billion.

Instead of hobnobbing with world leaders in Davos, she is confronted with calls for her to be investigated for criminal corruption and is hotly defending herself on Twitter. The court found that Gomes "right to freedom of expression outweighed Dos Santos" right to protect his reputation.



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