The richest woman in Africa, Isabel dos Santos, an Angolan, has been charged with money laundering and mismanagement traced during her governance of Sonangol, the state-owned oil firm.
Isabel dos Santos is the eldest child of Angola’s former President José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the country from 1979 to 2017.
Documents indicating Santos’ involvement in fraud surfaced on the internet this week. It alleged the theft of an estimated $2.1 billion (1.82 billion euros) stolen from the country.
Speaking, prosecutor general Helder Pitta Gros told a `news conference that “Isabel dos Santos is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol and is thus charged in the first instance with the crimes of money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management … forgery of documents, among other economic crimes.”
Gros added that Santos was among five suspects, all of whom were currently residing abroad.
“At the moment, the concern is to notify and get them to voluntarily come to justice,” said Gros.
Santos governed Sonangol for 18 months. The discrepancy in the transfer of sums and other illegal ordeals was raised by her successor Carlos Saturnino. Currently, Santos is accused of using her father’s influence to launder state funds and thereafter transfer it abroad with the help of Western firms.
In 2013, Santos became Africa’s first female US dollar billionaire, according to Forbes after her net worth had exceeded US$2 billion.
In November 2015, the BBC named her as one of the 100 most influential women in the world. Her father, José Eduardo dos Santos ruled Angola for 40 years before Joao Lourenco took over.