INTERNATIONAL - Angola’s state prosecutor arrested the son of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos over the alleged illegal transfer of $500 million (R7.1 billion) from state coffers to a Swiss bank account.
Jose Filomeno dos Santos’s detention marks the latest step by President Joao Lourenco to tackle graft and dismantle the influence of his predecessor, whose four-decade rule left Angola one of the world’s most corrupt nations. Since coming to power in September, Lourenco has dismissed Dos Santos’ daughter Isabel as chairwoman of state oil producer Sonangol and fired Jose Filomeno as head of the country’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund.
Jose Filomeno, who’s accused of crimes related to his management of the fund including money laundering, has been placed under preventive detention, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement emailed Monday from the capital, Luanda. His friend and business partner, Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, also was arrested on similar charges, it said.
“The evidence gathered resulted in sufficient indications that the defendants have been involved in practices of various crimes including criminal associations, receipt of undue advantage, corruption, participation in unlawful business, money laundering, embezzlement, fraud among others,” the office said.
Calls to Jose Filomeno’s lawyer, Benja Satula, didn’t connect when Bloomberg sought comment. Calls to Bastos de Morais’s office weren’t answered.
Jose Filomeno was charged in March with fraud over the alleged illegal transfer. He said at the time he’d cooperate with the authorities.
Angolan authorities last week arrested former Transport Minister Augusto da Silva Tomas over alleged embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, state-owned Televisao Publica de Angola reported on September 21, citing a statement from the state prosecutor.