Portuguese government has reportedly decided to freeze accounts of Isabel dos Santos held in the country on request of Angolan authorities, reported The Guardian.
“We confirm that the public prosecution service requested the seizure of bank accounts, as part of the request for international judicial cooperation from the Angolan authorities,” the Portuguese prosecutor’s office told news agency Lusa.
Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of ex-President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has been named as a suspect in a criminal investigation into the misappropriation of funds from the state oil company, Sonangol. She was appointed the chair of Sonangol when her father was nearing the end of his 38-year term as president. The Angolan prosecutors are investigating the transfer of some $115m in consultancy fees which she allegedly authorized while at the helm of the company.
Angolan President Joao Lourenco fired her as head of Sonangol in 2017, soon after he took over from her father.
Notably, Angola’s Attorney General Helder Pitta Gros visited Portugal in January to seek the help of Portuguese authorities in the case. Dos Santos and her associates have huge stakes in several Portuguese firms and bank accounts in the country.
Portugal is the second country to freeze Dos Santos’ bank accounts. In December, Angolan authorities froze all the personal and corporate accounts belonging to Dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo. Forbes Magazine has valued her forture at $2.1 billion and named her Africa’s richest woman in 2013.
Isabel has denied the “unfounded allegations and false claims” and said she has taken steps “to act legally” against the outlets that published them. She has been living in Europe since her father left office.
Dos Santos claims that she is being made the subject of “a very concentrated, orchestrated and well-coordinated political attack” led by Angola’s current president. She says that she had earned all her wealth legally.