Ver Angola


PGR says it has already given “every opportunity” to Isabel dos Santos

The Attorney General of the Republic said this Thursday that Isabel dos Santos' unavailability to make statements to justice has delayed judicial proceedings, stressing that "every opportunity" was given to the businesswoman.


"The process is practically concluded, we had an issue that, in a way, delayed the process, which is the fact that she was never heard, since she should have been interrogated as a defendant", Hélder Pitta Grós told Lusa, on the sidelines of a swearing-in ceremony for 30 new sub-prosecutors.

If, on the one hand, he left Angola shortly after João Lourenço succeeded his father, José Eduardo dos Santos as President, in 2017, on the other hand, the various letters rogatory "were not successful", admitted the Attorney General.

One of the last was requested from the Netherlands this year, but Isabel dos Santos "refused to collaborate" with the Dutch authorities, at the request of the Angolan justice, said the same official.

For Pitta Grós, this would have been a "sovereign" opportunity for the former President's daughter to be able to defend herself and tell her version of the facts.

"She preferred not to do so and, therefore, we will continue with what our criminal procedural law provides", he stressed.

Asked about the instruments that the Angolan justice could use next, the Attorney General stated that he was not "concerned about that".

"The opportunity has already been given and she has refused to present herself to the authorities. Therefore, we no longer have to give other opportunities", said Pitta Grós.

As to whether the Angolan authorities will be able to issue an international arrest warrant, a hypothesis that had previously been raised, the magistrate declined to respond as it was "a procedural issue that should not be disclosed."

However, Isabel dos Santos will be able to appear in Dutch courts next year.

An article published last week in the Dutch newspaper NRC reported a new lawsuit against Isabel dos Santos and Portuguese associates, due to an alleged embezzlement of more than 50 million euros.

The case involves Esperaza, the Dutch vehicle company through which the Angolan oil company at the time it was led by Isabel dos Santos entered Galp Energia, and Exem linked to the company's late husband, Sindika Dokolo, as well as several "facilitators".

The NRC adds that Isabel dos Santos, the "largest law firm in Portugal and a partner, a well-known lawyer", as well as the businesswoman's former right-hand man, Mário Leite Silva, were notified this summer to appear in court in March 2023, within the scope of this civil proceeding.

Officials of the banks owned by Isabel dos Santos in Portugal and Cape Verde will also be heard, as well as a Dutch office (TCA) responsible for managing the companies of the businesswoman and her husband, Sindika Dokolo (now deceased).

Isabel dos Santos, who became the richest woman in Africa, is the subject of legal proceedings in several countries, following the Luanda Leaks scandal.

In Angola, in addition to criminal and civil proceedings, assets, accounts and shareholdings in several companies were seized, and the share held in the telecommunications operator Unitel was recently nationalized.

The same is true in Portugal, where Isabel dos Santos has frozen shares and accounts and has, according to the Observer, 17 cases opened in court.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) revealed in January 2020 more than 715 thousand files, under the name of Luanda Leaks, which detail alleged financial schemes of Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, who, in the meantime, died, which would have allowed them to withdraw money from the Angolan public purse through tax havens.


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