Emails Paint Damning Picture of Africa's Richest Woman

Isabel dos Santos accused of exploiting Angola, long ruled by her father
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2020 8:03 AM CST
Emails Paint Damning Picture of Africa's Richest Woman
A 2015 photo of Isabel dos Santos.   (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)

She became Africa's first female billionaire in 2013 and is thought to have more than doubled that fortune since. But while Isabel dos Santos insists her wealth is above-board, a trove of leaked emails and documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists suggests otherwise, report the Guardian and the BBC. The "Luanda Leaks" paint a picture of a woman who exploited her homeland of Angola and scored plum financial deals involving state assets during her father's long reign as president. "She acquired stakes in the country’s diamond exports, its dominant mobile phone company, two of its banks and its biggest cement maker, and partnered with the state oil giant to buy into Portugal’s largest petroleum company," per the New York Times, another of the newspapers that worked with the ICIJ.

Dos Santos, for her part, calls the leak “an orchestrated attack by the current government that is completely politically motivated, it’s completely unfounded." Her father stepped down in 2017 after 38 years in power, and the new government is now trying to seize $1 billion of Dos Santos' assets. The Times' angle on the story is that prominent American firms Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, and PwC helped Dos Santos handle her vast fortune while lending her legitimacy. One example of suspicious money: Dos Santos' father put her in charge of Angola's state oil company, Sonangol. When she was fired two months after he left office, she approved $58 million in payments to a consultancy firm in Dubai that is run by her business manager and owned by a friend, per the BBC. (Read the full ICIJ report.)

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