Angola’s Supreme Court on Friday sentenced Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of Angola’s former president Eduardo Dos Santos, to five years in prison over a $500 million corruption case, reported Reuters.
Jose, who was the former head of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, was found guilty, along with three other defendants, of embezzling up to $1.5bn (£1.1bn) while overseeing the fund from 2013 to 2018. He has been found guilty of stealing $500m from the fund and transferring it to a Swiss bank account.
Jose’s father led the country for 38 years. He became the president in 1979 and continued to serve the country until 2017.
“For the crime of fraud… and for the crime of peddling influence… the legal cumulus condemns him to a single sentence of five years in prison,” Justice Joao da Cruz Pitra said while sentencing Dos Santos at the country’s Supreme Court.
Three co-defendants were also accused of fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling including Valter Filipe da Silva, the former governor of the national bank of Angola (BNA). They were each sentenced to between four and six years in prison. All four defendants were acquitted of money laundering charges. They previously denied any wrongdoing.
Jose’s trial has been the most high profile case to date under the anti-corruption drive of President Joao Lourenco, who came to power after dos Santos stepped down in 2017 after a near four-decade grip of power in Africa’s second-biggest oil exporter. He is the first member of the former presidential family to be prosecuted.
In February, Angolan investigators froze the assets of Jose’s billionaire half-sister Isabel dos Santos. She is being investigated on charges of mismanagement, embezzlement, and money laundering during her stewardship of the state-run oil giant Sonangol. Isabel has denied the accusations against her and denounced Luanda’s actions as a politically-motivated “witch-hunt”.