Attorney General seeks clarification from Angolan authorities
Since Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, was formally charged with 12 crimes involving embezzlement, corruption, the trafficking of influences, tax fraud, money-laundering and criminal association, authorities in Portugal have been a bit on the ‘back foot’.
As copious news reports have explained, the repercussions of journalistic investigation Luanda Leaks have seen a number of criminal inquiries open in Portugal, and a number of Portuguese citizens and companies caught up in the mire.
But now that Angola has formally lodged criminal charges against the businesswoman over the allegedly ‘ruinous’ management of oil company Sonangol between the years 2016 and 2017, Portugal’s authorities want to ensure they are not investigating facts that have already been investigated by Angolan counterparts.
Thus, the Attorney General’s Office is preparing to send a ‘letter rogatory’ to Angola, requesting to see a copy of the indictment announced earlier this week.
Only after receiving and analysing this document will DCIAP (the central department of investigation and criminal action) “be able to take a position (…) assessing whether there is a total or partial overlap between the objects of investigation to the crime(s) imputed to those targeted in the DCIAP investigation”.
DCIAP currently has nine inquiries underway “that directly or indirectly target Isabel dos Santos”, the office has told Lusa.
Meantime, Ms dos Santos, living in Dubai, has recorded an interview with Radio Angola in which she accuses Portuguese authorities of essentially bending over backwards to assist Angola in an allegedly politically motivated witchhunt.
Among Portuguese citizens charged with Ms dos Santos are her ‘friend and former business partner’ Paula Oliveira (who also has Angolan nationality) and former manager Mário Leite da Silva.
Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Portugal is equally named in the indictment, which accuses the defendants of damaging the Angolan State to the tune of more than €190 million.
For now, Angola’s indictment is simply on paper. It is a long way from seeing Ms dos Santos ‘apprehended by authorities’. As long she remains in Dubai, she is thought to be free from Angola’s (and indeed Portugal’s) legal jurisdiction.