Africa’s richest woman accused of fraud

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Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of Angola’s former president and Africa’s richest woman, is facing fraud charges, the country’s attorney general has told reporters in Luanda.

Dos Santos £13 million mansion in one of Britain’s most secretive gated communities was bought without a mortgage via an anonymous company registered in an offshore tax haven.

Dos Santos, the businesswoman at the center of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Luanda Leaks investigation, is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds during an 18-month stint as head of Sonangol, the state oil company.

Four others were also named on state TV late Wednesday by the country’s prosecutor general, Helder Pitta Gros. One of the suspects, the director of private banking at Lisbon-based lender EuroBic, Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, was found dead at his home in Portugal late Wednesday, Portuguese newspaper Jornal Economico said on its website.

The inquiry covers the period that Dos Santos served as chair of Sonangol, from June 2016 to November 2017, when she was fired by her father’s successor, Joao Lourenco.

The announcement comes days after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a series of documents showing how Africa’s richest woman built a multibillion dollar business empire via mostly questionable deals involving state assets during her father’s 38-year tenure. Earlier this month, a court in Angola froze her assets and bank accounts.

Dos Santos, who has been living outside Angola since 2018, was not immediately available for comment. She has previously denied wrongdoing.

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