Ver Angola


Defense of Luso-Angolan São Vicente regrets condemnation of businessman “who invested so much in the country”

Carlos São Vicente's defense insisted this Wednesday that the conviction of the Portuguese-Angolan businessman was "illegal" and "unjustified" and accused the Angolan justice of not having ensured a fair trial to "a man who invested so much in the country".

: Ampe Rogério/Lusa
Ampe Rogério/Lusa  

In a note sent to Lusa, François Zimeray and the team of lawyers for Carlos São Vicente thus reacted to the decision of the Constitutional Court (TC) that denied the appeal of unconstitutionality presented by the Portuguese-Angolan businessman, sentenced to nine years in prison for embezzlement, money laundering of capital and tax fraud and who has been imprisoned since September 2020.

"We are very disappointed that the Angolan judicial system has not been able to ensure a fair trial for a man who has invested so much in the country. only to Mr São Vicente, but also to the entire Angolan people, fair and respectable justice", wrote the lawyers.

The process against the Portuguese-Angolan businessman ended with the decision of the TC, dated 5 July, which confirms the conviction.

For the defense of São Vicente, the court did not take into account "the flagrant and systematic violations of the most elementary rights of defense", especially with regard to the presumption of innocence and the right to an independent and impartial judge.

In addition, "the case is devoid of any incriminating evidence", adds the same note, which underlines that the conviction is based "only on a political decision" and that São Vicente is being used as a "scapegoat to divert the attention of the Angolan people of the country's catastrophic situation".

In judgment no. 825/2023, consulted by Lusa, the plenary of judges who analyzed the extraordinary appeal of unconstitutionality filed by the former boss of the insurance company AAA, dismissed the request as they considered that the alleged constitutional principles, rights and guarantees were not offended by Carlos San Vicente.

In their assessment, which runs over 30 pages, the judges complain that the businessman does not contribute to speedy justice in his procedural conduct, opting "for a long-winded style (...) extensive, repetitive and redundant " and "a copious argument" in their approaches.

Among the arguments presented are impediments to lawyers, short period of time granted to examine the case, lack of questioning of witnesses, introduction of new facts not included in the accusation, error in assessing the evidence, use of apocryphal writings as evidence, omission of pronouncement referring to liquidation of assets and compensation, etc.

The nine judges refute, one by one, all the points invoked in the appeal.

The businessman was sentenced in March last year to nine years in prison and to pay damages of 500 million dollars.

Carlos São Vicente, husband of Irene Neto, daughter of Agostinho Neto, the first President of Angola, has been in custody since September 2020.

The businessman, who for almost two decades had a monopoly on insurance and reinsurance for the state-owned oil company Sonangol, through the AAA group, will have set up a triangular scheme, with companies in Angola, London and Bermuda, which generated losses of millions of dollars for the treasury angolan.


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