LONDON,- Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos on Wednesday lost her fight against an application to freeze up to 580 million pounds ($735 million) of her assets in a lawsuit at London’s High Court.
Dos Santos – Africa’s first female billionaire, whose father Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled Angola for 38 years until 2017 – is being sued by Angolan telecoms operator Unitel.
Unitel asked the High Court to grant a worldwide freezing order over dos Santos’ assets at a hearing last month and Judge Robert Bright granted the order on Wednesday.
Unitel is suing dos Santos over loans made to Dutch company Unitel International Holdings (UIH) in 2012 and 2013, when dos Santos was a Unitel director, to fund UIH’s acquisition of shares in telecoms companies.
The loans were not repaid and around 300 million pounds is outstanding, according to Unitel, which successfully had dos Santos added to the lawsuit in May.
But dos Santos – who claims to be the victim of a “campaign of oppression” by Angola – says Unitel is itself responsible for UIH’s inability to repay the loans because of its alleged role in Angola’s unlawful seizure of UIH’s assets.
She also argued that her assets have been frozen or seized in other countries including Angola and Portugal, which meant another freezing order was unnecessary.
However, Bright said in a written ruling on Wednesday that he did not accept that “the other freezing orders mean that it is not just and convenient for this court to grant a further order”.