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Dos Santos drops Portugal bank stake

Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of the former Angolan president and accused of corruption and money laundering, is selling her capital stake in Portuguese bank Eurobic, media reports Thursday quoted the bank as stating.

Dos Santos, daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, “took the decision to withdraw as a Eurobic shareholder,” according to a bank statement posted late Wednesday to its website.

It added the decision “is definitive (and) must go through as soon as soon as possible.”

Dos Santos is the bank’s main shareholder with a 42.5 percent stake but Angola’s billionaire former first daughter cedes it amid accusations of financial wrongdoing and mismanagement during her 18-month stewardship of state-owned oil firm Sonangol from mid-2016.

Investigations into dos Santos were opened after her successor Carlos Saturnino raised the alarm about “irregular money transfers” and other irregular procedures.

Luanda wants her to face trial for looting the country’s coffers following the “Luanda Leaks” scoop, published last Sunday by some of the world’s top media outlets, showing documents suggesting the 46-year-old was able to plunder some $2.1 billion of state revenues.

Eurobic, which had already announced it would end “commercial links” with dos Santos following Sunday’s report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalistes (ICIJ), stated that “she has already definitively renounced her voting rights”.

The bank says it will carry out an audit whose conclusions it will pass on to Portugal’s central bank.

Angolan prosecutor general Helder Pitta Gros arrived meanwhile Thursday in former colonial power Portugal for talks with his Portuguese counterpart, the ministry of public affairs said without giving further details.

Wednesday, Pitta Gros had stated 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.”

Dos Santos was at the forefront of a swathe of Angolan investments in Portugal over the past decade which saw stakes taken in at least 17 firms.

News of those operations has forced Portuguese authorities onto the defensive.

“I never afforded (dos Santos) any special treatment,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Wednesday.

Dos Santos is accused of using her father’s backing to steal money from the oil- and diamond-rich but poor southern African country and moving it abroad with the help of Western firms, putting pressure on Portugal and firms involved to explain what they know and what they did.

Dubbed “the princess” by Angolans, Isabel dos Santos was named Africa’s richest woman by Forbes in 2013.

She stopped living in Angola after her father stepped down in 2017 for his anointed successor Joao Lourenco.