Angola charges son of ex-president dos Santos with fraud

José Filomeno dos Santos

LUANDA. – The son of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos has been charged over allegations that he was involved in a $500m fraud while head of the oil-rich southern African country’s sovereign wealth fund, state radio reported.

José Filomeno dos Santos was removed as head of the $5bn wealth fund by his father’s successor, President João Lourenço, in January.

Angola’s attorney-general said on Monday that the younger dos Santos was also being barred from leaving the country in connection with the probe into claims that funds were transferred abroad from an account at the central bank.

The former governor of the National Bank of Angola has also been charged over the alleged transfer, state radio added.

Maka Angola, a site run by Rafael Marques de Morais, an Angolan investigative journalist, reported in January that the alleged transfer took place as part of a scheme involving an offer to lend money to the Angolan government that was later found to be fictitious.

As president, the older dos Santos appointed his children to key economic positions, including naming his daughter, Isabel, chief executive of the state oil company, before stepping down from nearly four decades in power in elections last year.

President Lourenço has reversed the appointments amid signs of a power struggle within the ruling MPLA, which has governed Angola since independence. dos Santos, who remains the head of the MPLA, indicated this month that he would delay his departure as its chief.

Before the younger dos Santos’ dismissal from the wealth fund, civil society activists accused him of cronyism in picking a Swiss investment firm run by an associate, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, to manage its assets. dos Santos and Bastos de Morais have denied the claims. – Financial Times