19 August 2013

Angola: Billionaire Daughter Acquired Wealth Through President Dos Santos - Report

Photo: Maka Angola
A cartoon in Maka Angola portraying allegations of corruption involving President dos Santos.

A detailed investigation by a major American business magazine suggests that Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos has acquired her wealth through her father, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

In an article to be carried in the September 2 issue of Forbes, the magazine's reporters write that after a year of investigation, including reviewing documents and speaking to dozens of people in Angola, "as best as we can trace, every major Angolan investment held by Dos Santos stems either from taking a chunk of a company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of the president's pen that cut her into the action".

Forbes adds: "Her story is a rare window into the same, tragic kleptocratic narrative that grips resource-rich countries around the world."

The article was written by Forbes senior editor Kerry Dolan and Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, publisher of AllAfrica news partner Maka Angola.

The journalists quote former Angolan prime minister Marcolino Moco as telling them: "It is not possible to justify this wealth, which is shamelessly displayed... There is no doubt that it was the father who generated such a fortune."

They quote a representative of Ms. dos Santos as responding to Forbes that any allegations of wealth transfer between her and the government are "groundless and absurd". But they go on to write: "That could well be. When your father runs the show, and can dictate which national assets are sold and at what price, what's theft of public resources in one country can be rendered legal with a swipe of the pen."

The article traces the building of Ms. dos Santos's fortune, beginning with her emergence as a 24.5 percent shareholder in a diamond-selling company which her father urged the state-owned diamond company to set up with a Russian arms dealer and Israeli diamond merchants.

It goes on to examine details of her other investments - thought to be worth a total of U.S. $3 billion - in the telecommunications, banking, oil and cement industries. It estimates that her stake in the company granted the right to be the first private mobile telephony operator in Angola is worth at least $1 billion, that in a bank is worth $160 million and that in an oil company $924 million.

Read the Forbes article: Daddy's Girl: How An African 'Princess' Banked $3 Billion In A Country Living On $2 A Day .

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