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Angola asks dutch justice to confiscate Isabel dos Santos' participation in Galp

Angola has asked the dutch courts to confiscate Isabel dos Santos' indirect stake in the portuguese company Galp Energia. The request serves to return the entrepreneur's position in Galp to Sonangol.

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According to a news release this Monday by Reuters agency, the request will be examined at the dutch arbitration court in the last week of May.

The flagship oil company's lawyers, cited by the news agency, explained that Sonangol is a shareholder of the portuguese company through a partnership with Amorim Energia, which controls around 33 percent of Galp. However, Sonangol's participation in Amorim Energia is done indirectly, through Esperaza Holding.

Sonangol owns 60 percent of Esperaza Holding and the remaining 40 percent belongs to Exem Energy, a company owned by the late husband of Isabel dos Santos, Sindika Dokolo. It is this 40 percent that Sonangol wants to see confiscated by dutch courts.

Emmanuel Gaillard, a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling representing Sonangol, in a statement to Reuters, justified the oil company's position by the fact that the sale of part of Esperanza's indirect stake in Galp à Exem, held at the time when the father of businesswoman José Eduardo dos Santos held the presidency, was done for "corruption".

"It's all corruption," he said, pointing to money laundering and misappropriation. Exem "owes us the shares, the indirect participation in Galp, because they stole it. It's illegal, so they have to return it to us," added Emmanuel Gaillard.

Isabel dos Santos' stake in Galp is valued at about 500 million dollars.

Exem Exem made no comment about the case to Reuters. The entrepreneur has stated that she is not connected to Exem.

Sonangol and Exem have agreed to move to arbitration court to end the conflict. In September last year, the Dutch courts ruled that Exem would lose its representation on the board of Esperaza and its participation would be frozen.

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