Isabel dos Santos seeks to revoke asset freeze over ‘forged’ passport
Angola’s billionaire former first-daughter Isabel dos Santos and her husband are seeking to revoke a court order that froze their assets last year as part of a massive corruption probe, their lawyer said Tuesday.
Dos Santos and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo are accused of diverting billions of dollars from Angolan state companies during ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ 38-year rule.
A court froze their bank accounts last December in the context of a crackdown on graft lead by President Joao Lourenco, hand-picked to succeed dos Santos in 2017.
This month, the 47-year-old business mogul accused the government of using a copy of a fake passport to freeze her assets.
The couple’s lawyer Walter Tondela told AFP he had filed a case against Angola’s public prosecution for “presenting false documents”.
“The magistrate… falsified the documents that deceived the court to the point of making this decision illegal and unconstitutional,” Tondela said on Tuesday, adding that “several other contracts” had also been faked.
The prosecution had previously dismissed accusations of passport forgery as a “comedy”.
Dos Santos said her lawyers unearthed the falsified evidence after they were given access to the court documents last month.
She has previously clamed the name and birth date on the submitted passport copy were wrong, and that the document bore the signature of late martial arts film star Bruce Lee.
Dos Santos has built up a vast business empire over the past two decades, with stakes in several Angolan and Portuguese companies.
Public prosecutors estimate that she and Dokola diverted up to five billion dollars from the state.
She was charged in January in Angola with a long list of crimes, including mismanagement, embezzlement of funds, and money laundering during her stewardship of the oil giant Sonangol.
A consortium of investigative journalists, after analysing a trove of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents, has also accused her of looting state coffers during her father’s rule.
Nicknamed “the Princess” among Angolans, dos Santos has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claims she is the victim of a “witch hunt”.
Her fortune is valued at $2.1 billion (1.9 billion euros) by Forbes Magazine, which named her Africa’s richest woman in 2013. AFP