Iced Out: Africa’s Richest Woman’s Assets Now Frozen

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By CultureBanx Team

  • Angola’s government has frozen the assets of Isabel dos Santos
  • Her net worth is estimated to be around $2B

The oil and diamond rich country of Angola is intent on ending corruption, starting by freezing the assets of Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman. Bloomberg estimates her net worth at about $2 billion. An Angolan court froze her personal bank accounts as well as her stakes in nine of the country’s firms including its telecommunications giant Unitel.

Why This Matters: In this messy situation, the daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, amassed a fortune during her father’s almost four-decade rule. However, Angolan authorities claim she owes the state more than $1 billion. Dos Santos has always protested her legit business credibility. However, Quartz points out that “the two roots of [dos Santos’s] fortune are diamonds and Unitel and they were given to her by her father.”

Angolan authorities claim she owes the state more than $1 billion

In her late twenties, owing to a new decree from her father at the time, dos Santos got a 25% stake in Unitel. Last year she was re-elected to the board of Unitel, but not without controversy. The decision came after speculation that dos Santos could have been ousted due to a shareholder dispute. Ownership of Unitel is split equally between dos Santos, Oi, Sonangol and Leopoldino do Nascimento, each has a 25% stake in the company. Sonangol recently started making waves on the board by hinting at possibly selling its stake, and wanted to cut down the influence dos Santos had at the company.

Situational Awareness: It’s been a rough time lately for dos Santos with Angola’s current president Joao Lourenco. He took office in September 2017 and has already fired dos Santos as chairwoman at Sonangol. President Lourenco has worked relentlessly against corruption and to dismantle the influence of his predecessor’s family over key sectors. The lawsuit is expected to go to court in March when the new judicial year opens.

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CultureBanx Team

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