Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, denounes fraudsters, insisting that a fake copy of her passport with the signature of martial artist and celbrity Bruce Lee was used to seize her assets in Angola and in Portugal.
An internet fraudster claiming to represent her interests used the document to propose a loan to a Japanese startup before Angolan authorities presented it as part of evidence that she was attempting to transfer large sums of money abroad, Dos Santos said May 12 in an statement that includes pictures of the forged passport. While the authenticity of a copy of her passport was investigated in one of those cases, the elements proved in that process “weren’t based on any identity document, but on documents that attested to the fear of dissipation of assets,” it said in a statement.
This not only served as the basis for the confiscation of all the property of Ms dos Santos in Angola, but also for a rogatory letter asking the Portuguese judiciary to freeze her assets in Portugal,” Dos Santos said.
Dos Santos’s assets in Angola were frozen late last year after authorities in the southwest African nation accused her of engaging in deals with state-owned companies that cost the state $1.14 billion. In February, Portuguese prosecutors also froze Dos Santos assets in the country, home to a sizable portion of her estimated $2.4 billion fortune, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The daughter of late President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been living outside Angola since 2018, has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the allegations are politically motivated to prevent her from participation in elections.
In an exclusive interview with DW TV, the Angolan president spoke about the scandal. Joao Lourenco said no one was exempt in the fight against corruption in Angola, and that there would be “no negotiations” with people who had allegedly taken their assets out of the country illegally.
Angola’s prosecutor general’s office said late on May 12 that Dos Santos currently faces several civil and criminal cases in which the state claims more than $5 billion, which were acquired through fraudulent manipulations with state aid.
Isabel dos Santos’ assets have been frozen in Angola. On January 22, the country’s prosecutors charged her with money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management, forgery of documents and other economic crimes during her time as head of the national oil company, Sonangol, from 2016 to 2017.
The charges against Isabel dos Santos were brought after an investigation into the scandal led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) using more than 715,000 leaked files. The richest woman of Africa, as she is often referred to, has vehemently denied the accusations, and claimed she is the target of political persecution.