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Defense of Carlos de São Vicente accuses the State of illegally seizing buildings

The defense of Carlos de São Vicente accused the State of having illegally appropriated buildings from the AAA Activos company, warning that this action gives "a disastrous image of Angola abroad".

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In a statement, quoted by VOA, lawyers François Zimeray and Jessica Finelle reveal that last Sunday "under the pretext of ensuring the conservation of buildings belonging to AAA Activos, a company owned by Carlos de São Vicente, the Angolan government orchestrated its appropriation by public administrations.

In the note, the defense of Carlos de São Vicente states that what is "being witnessed here is not related in any way to the rule of law," giving "a disastrous image of Angola abroad.

Admitting that his client is being "victim of arbitrary detention," the businessman's defense points the finger at the State, accusing it of "publicly orchestrating the spoliation of his property without any legal basis.

Protesting "in strong terms against this political operation", the lawyers state that "justice is not an armed robbery".

The lawyers also stress that the authorities have violated "all the fundamental rights" of Carlos de São Vicente, especially "the presumption of innocence, respect for criminal procedure and the right to a fair trial."

"The Angolan state believes it has unlimited powers over people and property. It arbitrarily arrests people and takes advantage of this situation to illegally occupy and seize buildings," the note reads.

In the document, the lawyers criticize the "multiple violations of the rules for a fair trial and the conditions of detention, contrary to all notions of justice and dignity.

In particular, they point out "a detention, neither necessary nor reasonable, ordered and prolonged by an all-powerful Angolan prosecutor, without the control of a judge.

The lawyers criticize what they consider to be "a blackmail and judicial process obviously motivated by political reasons" initiated "under strong social pressure to which the Angolan government gave in, weakened by suspicions of corruption, although the Angolan Public Ministry had assured the Swiss authorities, only a month earlier, that it had found no evidence to support the accusation against Carlos São Vicente, after investigations.

The defense of the businessman also stressed "the violation of the presumption of innocence" and noted that Carlos São Vicente is "the target of political and media persecution" that makes him an "ideal scapegoat for the difficulties of a country plagued by corruption.

It is recalled that Carlos de São Vicente, owner of the AAA group of companies, one of the largest private conglomerates in Angola, and holder for several years of Sonangol's insurance and reinsurance monopoly, was arrested last September. At stake are suspected crimes of embezzlement, economic participation, influence peddling and money laundering.

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