Angola: International Court Rules in Sonangol's Favour Over 'Galp Case'

Luanda — The International Arbitration Court, under the auspices of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute, decided on Friday (July 23) in favour of Angola's Oil company "Sonangol" over dispute involving Exem Energy BV of the businesswoman Isabel dos Santos started in 2019.

According to a press release reached Angop, the Court's decision fully attributes the indirect position in Galp, which was shared by Sonangol and Exem Energy, owned by Isabel dos Santos, to the Angolan oil company.

The dispute related to the 40% stake held by Exem, allegedly transferred by Sonangol EP, through Esperaza Holdings BV, the company through which the national oil company made, in 2006, an investment considered successful in the Portuguese oil and gas Galp SA gas firm.

The 40 percent of the disputed shares of Esperaza Holding BV have a current market value of around USD 700 million.

As a result of the Arbitration Court's decision, Sonangol will be reinstated, as sole shareholder (100%), of Esperaza Holdings BV.

Sonangol guarantees that, with the documentary evidence and conducting a seven-day evidentiary hearing, the International Arbitration Court "concluded that the transaction by which Exem Energy BV intended to acquire its interest in Esperaza Holding BV was contaminated by illegality.

This allowing its owners influence the direct control of the national oil company to reap extraordinary financial advantages in its favour to the detriment of the former and, consequently, of the Angolan state".

Based on the findings, considered factual, the International Arbitration Court declared the transaction null and void and that Sonangol is the legitimate owner, 100 percent, of Esperança Holdings B.V.

Exem Energy B.V. was also ordered to bear the total costs incurred by Sonangol in the course of the arbitration process.

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