Isabel dos Santos: EuroBic severs ties with Angola billionaire

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Isabel dos SantosImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Isabel dos Santos says she is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt

The Portuguese bank EuroBic has announced it will end its business relationship with Africa's richest woman, Isabel dos Santos.

The move follows an investigation by the BBC and partner organisations which uncovered a number of questionable deals by the billionaire.

Ms Dos Santos says the claims against her are entirely false.

Her business deals ranged from Angola's state oil company Sonangol to its biggest mobile phone provider.

The bank said the board of directors had decided in a meeting on Monday to "terminate the commercial relationship with entities controlled by the universe of the shareholder Isabel dos Santos and people closely related to it", adding it would investigate transfers worth tens of millions of dollars made by Ms dos Santos.

The billionaire daughter of Angola's former President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, holds a 42.5% stake in EuroBic indirectly via two entities, making her the bank's main shareholder, reports say.

When her father retired as president in 2017, she was sacked as chairwoman of Angola's state oil company two months later.

The leaked documents that came out earlier this week suggest that as she left Sonangol, Ms Dos Santos approved $58m ($44m) worth of payments.

Media caption,

Isabel dos Santos: "I regret that Angola has chosen this path"

On Sunday, leaked documents seen by the BBC and partner organisations appeared to reveal how she was given access to lucrative deals involving land, diamonds, oil and telecoms while her father was in power.

The documents seem to show how Africa's richest woman made her fortune, estimated to be about $2bn, allegedly through exploiting her own country, and corruption.

Angola's prosecutor general said on Monday he wanted Ms dos Santos to return to Angola to answer the allegations, and promised to use "all possible" means to bring her back.

Ms dos Santos says the allegations against her are entirely false and that there is a politically motivated witch-hunt by the Angolan government.

She is already under criminal investigation by the authorities in Angola for corruption and her assets in the country have been frozen.

She had previously said she did not want to go back to Angola because she feared for her safety there.

Who is Isabel dos Santos?

Image source, Getty Images
  • Eldest daughter of ex-President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
  • Married to Congolese art collector and businessman Sindika Dokolo
  • Educated in the UK, where she currently lives
  • Reported to be Africa's richest woman, with a fortune of some $2bn
  • Has stakes in oil and mobile phone companies and banks, mostly in Angola and Portugal

Source: Forbes magazine and others