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Angolan vice-president denies Portugal graft claims

Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente on Wednesday denied any involvement in a corruption case that triggered the arrest of a Portuguese magistrate last month.

Public prosecutor Orlando Figueira, 54, is reportedly suspected of receiving at least 200,000 euros ($220,000) in return for shelving an investigation into the Angolan politician.

“I have had absolutely nothing to do with any payment that, according to the press, would have benefited” the magistrate, Vicente said in a statement.

He said the allegations were “completely without foundation,” but he was ready to clarify the matter “in order to lay any suspicion to rest”.

The probe, shelved in January 2012, centred on the origin of funds which Vicente, then the head of Angola’s public oil company Sonangol, used to buy a luxury apartment in a Lisbon suburb.

According to Portuguese media reports, Figueira received at least 200,000 euros from a subsidiary of Sonangol to bury the affair.

In November 2013, Portuguese prosecutors shelved another probe for tax fraud and money laundering involving Vicente.