Angola billionaire Isabel dos Santos lashes out over graft probe

Isabel dos Santos_15112017

FILE: Isabel dos Santos, Angola's billionaire businesswoman and daughter of the former president, has launched a head-on attack on the government since her assets were frozen.

LUANDA - Isabel dos Santos, Angola's billionaire businesswoman and daughter of the former president, has launched a head-on attack on the government since her assets were frozen last month by graft investigators.   

Usually wary of the media limelight, Dos Santos has fired a broadside of scathing tweets, interviews and statements, lashing what she says are lies and a corrupt regime.

The 46-year-old has been named "Africa's richest woman" by Forbes magazine, which last year rated her net worth at $2.2-billion.

Among Angolans, her nickname is The Princess, denoting the wealth and status she accumulated in the oil-rich state during her father's 38-year rule.

On December 23, prosecutors froze the bank accounts and holdings owned by Dos Santos and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo.

READ: Angolan ex-president's family in crosshairs of anti-graft probe

She has denied any wrongdoing, variously calling the accusations "lies," "fake news" and "politically motivated." 

The investigation centres on alleged use of state-owned companies to siphon off over a billion dollars.

It is delving into alleged irregularities involving the national oil giant Sonangol and Sodiam, a national diamond-marketing firm.

Dos Santos was appointed head of Angola's national oil company Sonangol in 2016 -- an act that for many critics exemplified nepotism under her father Jose Eduardo.

But she was forced out by his successor, Joao Lourenco, within months of coming to power in 2017.

She has since left Angola, claiming she faced death threats after her father stepped down. She now lives in Europe, where she went to school and university.

A judicial source told AFP Dos Santos would be formally charged in March, and her assets had been frozen as a "precautionary measure" while investigations were underway.    

Source
AFP